Tuesday, March 18, 2014

love leads to faith

There are places that encourage your socks off.  Because we are connected to God and have a relationship with Him, we see things differently.  Further, there are things that excite us. 

That is what happens when we see God at work in the lives of the people around us.  Especially when the people we see are those that we have a stake in their lives and care about them.  That seems to be where this passage has us.

How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.  I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another.  This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.  I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world.  They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body.  Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist.  Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve.  Be diligent so that you receive your full reward.

This passage begins with a statement about what one person saw as a bright light, a huge testimony and something worthy of celebrating.  The word was that he saw young people living by faith.  What they had been taught and what they had seen in their parents and teachers was now seen in their lives.  Their lives are now a sight to see for those who are interested in following Jesus.

He moves on to talk about something Jesus taught them very well.  It is about loving people with a genuine and compassionate love.  This is what takes people to the next level of following Jesus and influencing people to do the same.

It begins with loving Jesus and obeying His words.  That love makes a difference in our lives and in others.  That love leads more people to experience God and His love.

The first statement is connected to the second statement.  Do you get that?  When you see people living by faith it is linked to the fact that the love of God has encompassed their lives in a real way.  That is what love does to us and to those who see it in action. 

Our church has stood on the calling of demonstrating the love of God to our community for the last seven and a half years.  That is not an easy thing to do all the time, yet when we have been overcome with the grace God has given us as well as the 2nd chances God has offered us, there is little more that we can do other than to give it away to others.

My prayer is that people will be touched, challenged, wooed and changed by the love God has for them.  I believe that is the point where people also begin to serve and to live by faith.  God’s love leads to living by faith.

The writer of this book goes on to warn these people and us of those who are deceivers.  You see, inside every place are people who twist what they hear, complain about the good things and try to sway people to go the wrong direction.  We not only need to be aware of such people, but we can do something about them.  We can out love and out live them. 

Be diligent to let your love be real and to let your faith be strong.  Then God will continue to change you and change others, and the circle, the sharing of God’s love, will continue with excitement and strength. 

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