A Girl With a Sword

I have been so encouraged by my time in 1 John. I love all of the books written by John—he has a beautiful, poetic way of describing the love of God—and a key emphasis of this particular book is how to turn “loving one another” into a way of life. I have had a lot of people ask me what my time studying/reading His Word looks like. So, let me start by saying I am not an expert nor do I have a degree in anything pertaining to Biblical Studies. I’m just a girl who loves Jesus and loves spending time in God’s Word.

I’m not unaware of the spiritual war I’m in. I have strapped on my belt of truth, my breastplate of righteousness, my boots of peace, my shield of faith, and the helmet of my salvation…I’m not about to leave my sword behind.

And I don’t want any of my brothers and sisters walking around unable to defend themselves. Spending time in God’s Word should not have to feel intimidating to a believer. So, I wanted to take a minute and share what this time often looks like for me. I always start by asking Holy Spirit to bring revelation to my heart as I ready, and in my below outline for 1 John 3:16-22, I included the verses I read as well as a quick synopsis of my reflections on what He was teaching me as I read through them.

WHAT THE VERSES SAY:

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?”(16-17 NLT)

WHAT I AM LEARNING:

Love is a verb. Love rescues, saves, and empowers. Love restores dignity. Love is not always convenient; it is compassionate. Jesus was not moved by empathy, which allows us to simply feel bad about someone’s situation, but by compassion, which drives us to want to CHANGE someone’s situation. Love should be a tangible demonstration that points back to the cross.

WHAT THE VERSES SAY:

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” (18-19 NLT)

WHAT I AM LEARNING:

Love is a way of life marked by demonstrations, and those demonstrations are driven by the truth living within us. They are not driven by an effort to earn salvation or a need to appear righteous. They are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit—the love OF GOD—welling up inside of us and overflowing out of us as a tangible blessing for someone else.

(When I used to hear people talk about the love of God, I thought they meant the love we have FOR God. But when I talk about the love of God inside of you, I mean that His heart—His literal love—lives inside of you. 1 John 4 says that if we love one another, God lives in us, and we live in Him, and then His love is brought to its full expression in us. Romans 5:5 says that God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.)

So, it is His love—in us, through us, and for us—that produces fruit, and it’s not just a tangible sign for those we are serving, but also for us. Because that fruit is what reassures us of truth when the enemy tries to accuse us.

WHAT THE VERSES SAY:

“Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.” (20-22 NLT)

WHAT I AM LEARNING:

When we demonstrate loving deeds, our hearts can be reassured that the love of God is living in us. So, even if we feel guilty, we can still know for certain that we belong to God. Then, we can overcome the guilt and come into God’s presence with bold confidence, knowing that His Son’s work was perfect and that we will receive whatever we ask for because we are walking in alignment and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, pleasing Him with our demonstrations of love.

FINAL TAKEAWAY:

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. It lives in us and is expressed through us. And as a part of God’s perfect design, when we actively, tangibly love others—from that place of overflow—it ministers to them, it encourages and equips us, and it brings glory to God.

5 Comments

  1. Jordan, this is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I love John’s writings, too! I love all your words here, but “Love restores Dignity” …. this has been a huge thing that God has been talking to me about. There is just not enough honor and dignity being displayed towards others in this world anymore. We forget that every human being was created in the image of God. Beautiful post sweet sister, as ALWAYS! ❤ Much love to you …

    Liked by 1 person

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