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23 April 2012

Living in Love - 23 April

All around us we see people who call themselves Christian. You may have seen media or sports figures who espouse Christianity, and you’ve heard people call them “hypocrites” because their walk doesn’t match their talk.

How can we prove that we are Christians? We can show love to those around us in very practical ways. We can model the behavior that we see in God – even before we loved God, He loved us and sent Jesus to die for us. Without the love of God, our salvation would have been impossible.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.  1 John 3:1-3 (ESV)

Obviously, we can’t send our only son to die for the sins of the world, but we can model God’s behavior in other practical ways. It’s our family heritage!

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8  Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9  No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.  1 John 3:4-10 (ESV)

When you read a passage like this, do you worry about your life? Are you convicted to  modify behavior so you are not a child of the devil? Is it possible to live without sin? Of course it isn’t! But we have the Father’s love and forgiveness, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, our lives can be more godly day by day.

We all sin. So perfection isn’t the mark of a believer. According to this passage, what is the mark of a true believer? How can we stop making a practice of sinning?

If I don’t love my “brother” (the ones I like and the ones I don’t), what am I, according to this passage? Is that the way I want God to see me? Is that the way the world needs to see someone who claims Christ as their Savior?

How do children of God and children of the devil differ? What characteristic are outlined here?

So, today’s obvious question is:

Is your walk more like a child of God or a child of the devil? What steps can you take to make necessary changes?

The Bible offers us much wisdom and comfort, but when we look at passages like these, we don’t see the “fuzzy God” which is so frequently preached today. It’s clear that certain behaviors are expected from people who claim Christ as their savior. It’s clear that God expects us to make changes in our lives to better serve and honor Him. And when we don’t, He calls it as He sees it – when we aren’t acting in a godly manner, we are children of the devil.

I pray that you will take some time to talk to God and ask Him to help your daily life look more like a child of God!

See you Wednesday, and as always, if you have prayer requests or comments, please  feel free to post them here (or send me a private email). I’m here to pray with and for you!

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