Today’s thoughts, 1 John 4:11-17

by Pastor Lee Hemen
May 6, 2008

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. (1 John 4:11-17)

There it is again. Did you notice it this time? Those two important “commands” of Jesus just keep cropping up all over Scripture. Love God completely and love others as we love ourselves. Doggone, you would have thought that there would be more to it than that. You know, like following a set of guidelines or some rule book that each of us could edit ourselves as to which rules we would follow or not. Stoning? To harsh. Animal sacrifice? Maybe. Hmmm, how about wearing long dresses for the women and long beards for the men? Perhaps some celestial being would give us special scrolls we could decipher with a secret decoder ring? Oh, wait, that has been tried before hasn’t it? Well, maybe we should just add to it? Scripture that is. You know, some really good things from here and there and call it “tradition!” Of course we would be hard pressed to find it in the pages of the Bible, but that should not hold us back from trying to rewrite it, right? After all, won’t that make us as wonderful people feel better when we can check off our lists all the good feeling stuff we have done? Isn’t that what God is all about anyway — to make us FEEL better? Maybe we should develop a method of coming to God whereby we just get ourselves into a “holy” mood with music, candles, good works, and a fine sounding mantra like this: “Oh, I’m so bleesssssed. Oh, I’m so bleesssssed. Oh, I’m so bleesssssed. Yoooooou can beeeee bleesssssed toooo!” Do that about fifty times, wave your hands in the air like at a rock concert, and I am sure it will get you closer to the Lord. Or, we could go around and smack one another with foam noodles that children use to float in the pool with. It could be fun. We could sneak up on people and BAMO, right on the back of the head! Each time we do it we could sanctimoniously say something like, “RECEIVE the second holy whack of the LORD!” That would be a real corker to do, but we might have to let TBN in on it as well.

Now that I have offended just about everyone, doesn’t this sound kind of, well, stupid? Especially after we read what John so beautifully writes? We know without a doubt God loves us if we remain in His love. Why? He is love. If we love Him totally we would understand that and then His love would be manifested in our lives and made complete. No judgment day would hold any fear for us. God’s grace towards us was made complete in Jesus and we can do nothing to make it better. When we try we sin against the Lord no matter what our motivation is. The equation is simple: God loves us, we are to love God, and show His love to others. Now go out and do that today.

NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.

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