Love and Obedience

“How can we know?” That’s often the question we ask. We want to belong to God, but our human understanding falls short; we get anxious, worrying about if we are really “in”. We do not have to worry; God has provided us a tool to discern- His Word. It’s truth is “sharp enough to cut right through us, deeply to the core.” What we can do is use this tool, interact with it, understand how it functions, and finally, allow it to dissect us. Here’s how John describes it in 1 John 3–

We get to be God’s children- that’s how amazing his love is. And this new identity causes us to not be known by the world. We don’t know everything, and we won’t have to, but when He comes back we’ll be just like him. It’s for this reason that we ought to purify ourselves. We desire to stop sinning. Why?

Sin = breaking the law. And when we break the law, we seek to become a law until ourselves. God came to take away our sin because he has no sin. When we identify with Him as his children, we do not, we cannot continue to be lawbreakers. If we do, it’s as though we’ve never seen Him or known him.

Don’t allow yourselves to be led astray, be righteous as God is righteous. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil who had been doing evil since the beginning.

Those who are borne of God cease sinning because his seed is planted within and it grows and grows and grows. As it grows, the sinful nature goes away, pushed out from the inside to the fringes. This is how we know who God’s children are: the way that we love.

Love others; it’s the message from the beginning. Cain failed this test when he murdered his brother. Cain murdered Abel because Abel’s actions honored God and Cain hated him for it. In the same way, those who love God will truly be hated by the world. Do not be surprised by this. We who love our brothers are truly alive; those who hate are truly dead. And those who hate stand with Cain- guilty of murder, and without eternal life.

But, what is love? Real love? When Jesus laid down his life for the murderer, this was and is love. And we are that murderer. And now, we mimic him and lay down our lives for others. How?

  • having material possessions and using those possessions to have pity on those who have none and helping them
  • not mere words or tongue, but in actions and truth

These things: meeting needs, actions, truth…are how we know who belongs. They allow us to rest our hearts, find peace and still our souls. In and through them, God quiets our stirring spirits and questioning hearts because he is greater than them. He knows us fully.

How can we know we are His?

  • our hearts are quiet and still; this shows that the seed is spreading from within- our heart leaves us alone
  • we receive what we ask for because we obey him and do what pleases him

Those who obey  live in Him and he in them. We are alive by the Spirit he gives.

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