Advent Readings Day 26

Reading: 1 John 5:1 – 12

“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:2- 5

How is it with your soul?  I loved how a friend of mine could look over the top of his glasses and ask that question that cuts straight to the core.  That question created a piercing moment of forced self-examination to consider how I was really doing in my walk with Jesus.  It gave me time to let down my guard, drop the “everything is fine” comments and really consider for a moment how I was doing.

Let’s face it, today is December 27th and you are probably feeling a mixture of emotions.  There is always a bit of a let down after Christmas has finally passed.  You went at breakneck speed cooking and cleaning and shopping and wrapping and partying and now a bit of you is hopeful that life can get back to normal.  Of course for some of us, there are still a number of family obligations, office parties and special meetings that will continue for weeks because we just can’t cram enough into the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas and we now need to overflow into mid January before we can put the Christmas season behind us.

Today’s scripture passage shines out to us like a search beacon in the middle of the night.  Let’s face it, if we don’t settle ourselves with this passage today, we will have let another celebration of Jesus’ birth come and go without really examining our souls.

There are three places I would like to draw our attention to in this passage.

First, is the question of “What have I done with Jesus?”  “Do I really know The Son and have life as a result?” “Have I responded to Jesus as the One who has come to save me from my  sins and restore me to relationship with The Father?”  If not, choose to follow Him now by responding to His gift of salvation for you. Turn toward Him rather than away from Him.

Second, is the question of loving God and obeying His commandments.  One of the biggest deficiencies that I have seen in different places in the world is a lack of discipleship.  All over the world we have prayed prayers giving our hearts to Jesus, but we never really became students and followers of Him with our all.  Here John calls us to love God and obey His commandments.  Love God, love others.  But notice, He says that these commandments are not burdensome, but rather because we are born of God, through Jesus, we conquer the world.  As we follow Jesus we are not loaded down with more and more oppressive weight, but rather we walk in freedom, saying Yes to Him.  Does that characterize your life?  If not, give Him your full attention this morning and ask Him to show you the way to follow Him. He has set you free to follow Him fully.

And third, ”what is the testimony that is in our hearts?”  Today, if you have chosen to follow Jesus, John tells us that there is a testimony in your heart hrough The Spirit.   There is a testimony that we know that we know that we know who Jesus is.  This testimony is that God has given us eternal life.  This kind of testimony makes us conquerers of all that comes at us.  We hold on to the fact that there is an eternity for us in God’s Presence as followers of Jesus, but also that there is life to live today through The Son.  We are not defeated.  We are not rejected.  We are not forgotten.  Life is here today and we live it fully for Jesus in His Presence as we wait that future day to be with Him in Paradise.

How is it with your soul?  Grab one last glass of egg nog for the season and allow Jesus to ask that question of you.

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