Tuesday, July 8, 2008

1 John, Chapter 2

I apologize for the delay in posting, but new circumstances have forced me to change some things up as far as finding times and places to publish this. I am not sure if anyone is still reading this, but at least it is a good place for me to write some thoughts down and at least use this as a personal Bible study. I’ll keep publishing when I can and hope that someone out there is still listening.

Today I wanted to continue writing on the book of 1 John. It is a very short but powerful book that deals with the power of sin and how Jesus triumphed over this power. Today’s chapter deals with something I have struggled with for a long time. I have tried to be fairly transparent in my writings here. Bitterness is an issue that I have long battled. We see the result of that bitterness when left unchecked in today’s lesson.

9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him. – 1 John 2:9-11

Our bitterness when we struggle to forgive others is what blinds us even if we have Christ in our hearts. I am reminded of this every year at this time. 13 years ago I made a mistake that I now see wasn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but for years I held it so close to my heart that it was nearly unforgiveable. Over time, it began to affect many of my personal relationships, not because I had made the mistake, but because I feared so deeply that I would make it again. Like many things in my life, this fear became almost irrational. It wasn’t that I refused to love my brother in this case, but I refused to love myself. This made me stumble a number of times.

Bitterness does nothing but breed more bitterness. It is counterproductive to what God has intended for us, and therefore must be cleaned out. Still, it is one of the most difficult personal lessons to learn.

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2:15-17

It is very hard to love this world with the way it is today. Because we live in this world, however, with the inherently sinful nature that comes from being human means that we can very easily fall prey to the ways of the world. It is easy to become boastful and believe our achievements come from ourselves. I can easily sit here and say that I wrote this, when the truth is that I only write here because God allows me to write here. I have long viewed this not as my own creation, but a reflection of what God wants me to create. That is why we can draw strength from one of the final verses in this chapter.

26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. – 1 John 2:26-27

As I search for peace, the one place I can always begin is in a promise such as this one. I have been anointed in Christ, therefore he remains in me. Nothing can take that away at any time.

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