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Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:7-11

Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Reflections:

In the preceding passage (1 John 1:2:5) we learned that “the love of God has truly been perfected” when we “keep His word“.  In today’s reading, John immediately builds on what this means.  John starts this section by restating a commandment that he indicates was not new to his readers.  He assumes that this instruction will be obvious and evident to everyone. He writes, “The one who loves his brother, abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him” (vs. 10).  John’s first example, in this letter, of how to follow God, is to make sure we live a life of love towards others.

Followers of Jesus are characterized first and foremost by their love for others. One definition of the word “brother” reads, “any fellow or man.” If we are to truly follow Jesus, we must begin by loving those around us.  This doesn’t just apply to our family and friends.  It applies to our neighbors and co-workers. It applies to the people who cut us off in traffic and steal our parking spaces.  It applies to the homeless people we drive past with frequent indifference.  It applies to people with different political or social views.  It is easy to love those we are close to, who act the way we like.  It is much harder to love “any fellow man.”

The result of being someone who loves those around us, is that we will “abide in the Light,” a clear reference living with in relationship with God, as described in the preceding chapter.  And when we are living in relationship with God, John tells us that there will be “no cause for stumbling.” The commands of God are not intended to restrict or inhibit our lives.  Rather, His commands are guides to help us live a full and abundant life.  The kind of life that only God could plan and provide.

My NEXT Step: Take time today to write out a few of the commands God makes and identify why they help us live better lives.

Questions to Catalyze Growth:

  • Why is it sometimes difficult to “keep His word?”
  • What does the phrase “love his brother” mean to you?
  • Who are the “brothers” God has put in your life?
  • How can you show love to the “brothers” in your life?
  • Why does loving others mean that we will have “no cause to stumble?”
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