As a parent I’ve always tried to do my best for my children in terms of providing for their welfare and their ever increasing needs. But I’ve also invested considerable time and effort into making sure that they reach a point where they’re sufficiently well equipped to do life without me. So they know how to be streetwise, how to cook and clean, how to insure a car, how to make a budget and so on. So far they’ve managed pretty well although very occasionally they’ll still make a mistake or come across something they haven’t had to deal with before. There’s a sense in which John’s writing does some of that today. There is good, practical advice on what to look out for, how to be streetwise as a Christian. While there isn’t a budget to produce or a recipe to cook he does teach us how to spot evil in others and he also devotes some time to teaching us what love looks like.
The second part of his writing is based on one verse, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). I had previously underlined it in my Bible which indicates how important and valuable I’ve already found it. The important thing is that if we know this verse to be true and have absorbed the meaning of it we’re in a great place to love other people as He loves us. Back to the greatest commandment of all:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
John knew that it’s love that oils the gears of community. He knew that without it we grab and grind our way along damaging each other. This message became a key topic for John. It’s said that his last words were, “Little children love one another.” If we learn nothing else from the Bible it should be this, that loving our God and our neighbour are the most important things we can do as Christians. Without love we’re lost to Him as our God and to each other. If we understand that God is the God of love and we’re made in His image we should be able to put the pieces together for ourselves making sure that we follow His call.
Dear Lord, please help me to understand and live out your call to us to love You and our neighbours. Amen.