Journal Entry // November 25, 2022
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (ESV)
1 John 5:14
Confidence… toward God. John tells us that he is writing these things about the surety of our salvation and the promises of God that we may have a bold confidence toward our great God and Redeemer. We have this confidence toward God in that he has assured us of the testimony of his Son, Jesus. He has assured us that Jesus is in fact the one and only true Son of God who took upon himself all of my sin and paid for it on the cross at the cost of his blood. I can draw this confidence from the shed blood of Christ for me. My confidence rests in the finished work of Jesus, knowing that my salvation is secure.
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Journal Entry // November 24, 2022
We love because he first loved us. (ESV)
1 John 4:19
The foundation of all that I truly am is found in these seven words. Because Jesus loves me, I can love others. Because Jesus loves me, I can love Him. The implication from these seven words is that without Him first loving me, I am unable to love Jesus or others. My heart was initially dead and hard as stone; unable to truly love anyone other than myself. But God changed all of that with the perfect satisfying love of Jesus. Jesus chose to love me. He chose to love me not because of what I had done or what I would one day do. No, despite my hard and stubborn heart toward his righteous law and commandments, Jesus laid his full attention on me and chose to let the object of his love be directed upon me. A rebellious sinner. He first loved me.
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Journal Entry // November 23, 2022
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV)
1 John 3:18
What is the indicator that love permeates my heart? Is it the words that I speak or the actions I exhibit? I think that both are important to truly having love for your brothers and your neighbors. It is important to speak and talk to everyone in a loving way. It is also important to demonstrate my professed love with action and deeds. It is not enough to give verbal ascent to loving someone. It is minimalistic to only give words of love as we converse. I need to let love so permeate my heart that I demonstrate my profession with action. That I love both in my speech and in my deeds. This is the outworking and overflow of the love of Christ in me.
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Journal Entry // December 11, 2021
The light shines on our path, so that we can see clearly and so walk properly.TNTC Letters of John – (1 John 2:10)
As I have been reflecting deeper in 1 John through different commentaries and teachers, I have been struggling to put together some of what John is saying with how I actually see light and darkness manifest in my heart. Oftentimes I feel I am identifying with the darkness that John takes about, but I know that this darkness is meant to identify a life of unbelief. It always seems like John expects the true believer to walk 100% in the light and have no darkness at all. I interpret this to mean that any darkness lingering in my heart is pointing to my unbelief and I fear that this unbelief overshadows any light I may have.
But this is not what John is talking about. John is not saying that a true believer is sinless, not by any means. What he is saying is that I should have the markings of a man walking in the light. As John Stott mentioned in the quote above, the light of Christ shines on the path I am walking. It illuminates the road before me so that I can clearly see any hills and valleys and impediments to my walk. It allows me to see potential stumbling blocks. It’s not that there will be no stumbling, but that the light of Christ will reveal them to me.
The path of the unbeliever is shrouded in darkness and they take no notice or care for the sin in their life. And why should they… in the darkness there is no cause of concern about something they are blinded to. But a believer walking in the light has his sin and weakness illuminated at all times so that he may deal openly and honestly with his disobedience.
This is the light of Christ working in my heart. He reveals all the areas that are in need of attention. Areas of my heart that need his grace and mercy. It’s a blessing to struggle and fight against the sin in my heart. It’s the illuminating work of the gospel in my heart that casts out that lingering darkness. It’s Christ steadfast love for me that won’t let me just sit in darkness. No he shines his light, his true and perfect light, into every area of my life. Revealing the dark and dirty areas that need attention.
And walking in this light I can take these stumbling blocks to Christ as I clearly see the path of righteousness before me. Not perfectly by any means, but maturing. My faith growing and maturing each and every day. The light revealing the weakness in my heart is an amazing gift from God. Not a cause for guilt and shame, but of joy and celebration. I can rejoice that my loving Father is continuing to discipline me in love with patience.
Journal Entry // December 5, 2021
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.1 John 5:21 ESV
The last word in 1 John is a plea for us to keep ourselves from idols. Five chapters all boiled down to one simple phrase. One simple phrase that is central to the battle of faith. My heart is an idol factory. I am constantly creating idols, trusting idols, and turning my heart away from Christ because of them. So this simple plea from John is excruciatingly difficult.
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Journal Entry // December 4, 2021
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.1 John 3:1 ESV
There is a lot going on in this short verse. I am always amazed at the depth of the word of God. I can read this verse every year during my reading and get the overall point and have it impact me. Then I can come to it this morning and dig deeper into it and get even more. I’m sure if I actually got into commentaries and the customs of the time to see more context, there would be more still. This morning though, I am interested in the “kind of love” the Father has given.
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Journal Entry // December 2, 2021
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.1 John 1:5 ESV
God is light… Pure light. He is light without darkness. That’s an intriguing phrase to use. If God is light then surely it is understood that darkness cannot exist in light. Why does John point out the obvious of the statement? I think it’s because we will naturally put this into our human experience and begin to taint the purity of God’s holiness. I know that God’s light is in me, but I also realize that there is darkness lingering. John wants me to understand that this is not true of God. He is light… No darkness at all.
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