I am continually being brought back to the book of 1 John, primarily the second chapter. There is so much there that I’m beginning to think a single lifetime is not long enough to mine all the treasure it contains. One of the great things about this letter is the clarity of the message the Holy Spirit inspired John to write. There are numerous black-and-white statements. There is no nuance, no vagueness, and no wiggle room.
This book leaves no room for you to hedge your bets. If you believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God that it is, then 1 John is the unequivocal handbook of how we are to live this Christian life. We say we love Jesus, but does our love pass the test? When push comes to shove, do we love Him? Let’s see what John wrote about this.
To establish a foundation, let us first look back to the gospel of John, written earlier in the Apostle’s life. In John 14:15, John records Jesus saying, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” It doesn’t get any plainer than that. To put it in modern terms, talk is cheap. People can say anything. What do our actions show? We want what Jesus has to offer. We declare Jesus as our Lord and King. But do we love Him?
If we aren’t keeping His commands, then, by Jesus’s own words, we do not love Him. If we love the things in this world, we do not love Him (1 John 2:15). It goes without saying that if you love Jesus, you will spend every possible moment with Him. There is no entertainment, diversion, or pleasure that can compare to Jesus. Yet we spend far more time chasing after these things than we dedicate to studying His Word and spending time in prayer with Him. Let me say it as plainly as I can: If we love the things of this world, we do not love Jesus.
That may sound harsh. I didn’t even like writing it because I know it’s true and my affections are too often lured into caring about some of what this world has to offer. Everything this culture offers you is garbage. It’s worse than garbage. How devastating it must be to Christ every time we choose this world over His beautiful love. How devastating it should be to us as well.
I’ve barely begun scratching the surface of what I need to say about this, so we’ll continue for the next few posts. We’ll take as much time as we need because when it comes to Jesus, we must be able to answer the question of, “Do we love Him?” The way we live our lives will provide the answer. It doesn’t matter what we say or what we think. The truth is revealed by whether we are keeping God’s commands. There is no life without love for Jesus. We must settle the question of, “Do we love Him?”, once and for all. All of eternity is at stake for us.