1 John 5:13-21 – Life and Death
The essence of John’s message to us as believers is a seemingly simple one. It’s one that is easy for us to regurgitate. It’s one that we put in our worship songs, coffee cups, and t-shirts. It’s a message that we can all get on board with, cling to, and quote with fervor and resolve. It is not one that we enjoy walking in.
John’s message is that when Jesus becomes our all we have life – when we chase anything else we don’t. John points out that if Jesus is not real to us we will be more easily distracted by the things of this world. John tells us that if we never fully realize our adoption as children of God we will never stop trying to find our worth in simply serving Him. John challenges us to examine our lives to see if the love that Jesus has poured out on us is then being poured out on those around us because if that love is being hoarded, we are not truly living. No one likes to find out that their not really as alive as they thought they were.
Have you ever tried to tell someone whose heart is beating that they’re dead? It’s not exactly an easy concept to grasp. Most people, in fact, refuse to see that their lives are being lived outside of Christ. They believe as long as things are going relatively well, God must be happy with them. John tries to give us measuring lines to help us see whether our lives line up with what Christ has commanded us to do, but most people will never use them. Most people in church today will never see the need for such accountability in their daily lives. They are simply content to wander in the dark until they stub their tow or fall into a ditch. It may sound drastic or over-dramatic, but the simple truth is that when we refuse to allow the Spirit to examine us we are choosing to walk in death and not in life.
John warns against the desires of this world. John tells us that if we believe that we are above the Law we have chosen to walk in what Christ came to destroy. John tells us that if we continue to walk from day to day as if there is no real sin in our lives we call God a liar and have no part with the truth that we most likely profess. We get things so mixed up. We are so ready to say things with our mouths that are not consistent with what is really in our hearts. I’ve never met the person who says that they never sin, but I’ve met hundreds who refuse to address that sin in their lives because that’s just “the way they are” – they believe they can’t change nor do they really want to change. So when the Spirit comes and sheds light on the sin in their lives and offers them a New, Everlasting Life, they stare Him straight in the face and say, “You are a liar” and then go right back to church. John is trying to draw us away from the death that we choose to walk in and into the Life that Jesus died to give us. But we do not enter into that Life until we first step into the Light and believe what that Light reveals. We are far more content with playing with our idols in the dark than enjoying Christ in the Light.
It is my prayer that the Spirit would open our eyes to where we are choosing to continue in the dark. I pray He teaches us to abide. I pray we would stop choosing the death we prefer over the Life He has given.
As the holidays approach, beware the distractions that accompany celebrations and gifts. Be watchful for the idols that will be available to you. Enjoy family and fellowship, enjoy giving and receiving, but do not forget whose you are. For those mothers and fathers who will read this, give your children Christ this year. Not by simply taking them to church or reading a story, but living the love of Christ for your children. I love y’all more than you know. Grace and peace,