One or the Other
“As for you, let that abide in you what you have heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father”—1 John 2:24 NASB
Such a straightforward verse. Yet, what is the writer saying to the original recipients? What was it that they had heard from the beginning? To love one another, just as God loved us and Christ loved us. It was John that said God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and it was also John that said he was not giving us a new commandment but that we were to love one another, right? At the center of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is a selfless love that we have not earned, nor do we deserve. A love that went to the cross while we were all still sinners, while we were all still enemies of God so that we may be able to once again enter into a relationship with God as He originally intended.
If we abide in that love, John tells us that we will also abide in the Son and the Father. That is not to say this love is effortless or easy. Quite the contrary. In our flesh, we have selfishness, we build up idols of expectation and we exalt ourselves through the pride of our own judgement. The culture of the world further tells us that these things are good. We should put ourselves first, people should do exactly what we think that they should and be exactly what we believe that they should, and if we are in a position of any kind of power, prominence or success, it is easy to succumb to the mentality of ‘look at what I have achieved,’ and ‘clearly I know best.’ However, love gently reminds us that God allowed us to be there, to do that, and receive the t-shirt. Our salvation, is after all, based on God's love for us, through faith, so that none of us can boast, right?
This is a struggle for many of us. I know that I have struggled with whether I am operating out of love or selfishness at times. But, we need to always ask ourselves, are we submitting to God in His perfect love and trusting in His plan? Or, are we trying to control and manipulate the circumstances before us so that it goes the way that we want it? Are we allowing His love to shine through us in lifting others up and encouraging those that need it? Or, are we tearing people down and belittling them to make ourselves feel better or to ensure that we are more liked by those that are listening to us?
In one, we are demonstrating love. In the other, we are not demonstrating love as we have heard it from the beginning. So, will you consider the words and actions that come up out of your heart next? Are your words and deeds fueled by love? Or are your motives and agendas fueled by selfishness? Can you determine whether He would say that they were one or the other?
Until Next Time