Comparison

Nothing the world offers compares to the glory of the LORD

Read: 1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Reflect:

John draws a contrast here between the world and God. This is a contrast that might seem absurd to many people today, who hold the common materialist worldview. They think that the world is all there is: scientifically observable and measurable matter.

But John takes for granted there is something beyond the world, above the world; something inherently other. This something is really a Someone: God himself.

Nothing the world offers to us or demands from us is worth anything in comparison to God.

The world passes away. Our toys and technologies; our engineering marvels and scientific wonders; our hopes, dreams and goals; our endeavours and efforts – all pass away, like mist in the pure heat of the sun’s dawning rays. Everything I (in my worldly, fleshy nature) love and cherish, want and desire – all these will fade from sight when seen in the light of the surpassing glory of the LORD.

Crux:

Nothing the world offers holds a candle to the blazing, brilliant glory of the LORD.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are wondrous and marvellous, magnificent and awesome. The light of your glory is blazing, brilliant, blinding… yet so many times I cannot see your glory because my attention is distracted, caught by the world. My love for you is squeezed out; there is no room for it because I am led astray by love for the world.

I confess that today I enjoyed the softness of clean sheets on our bed, while failing to remember your provision of true sabbath rest for me through Jesus Christ.

I confess that today I appreciated the simple satisfaction of hanging washing on our outdoor clothesline, but didn’t focus the eyes of my heart on your cleansing me from my sin through Jesus Christ.

I confess today I delighted in watching my hen-pecked chicken recover in her new separate coop, yet I did not remember that your word says you care for your people as a hen shelters her chicks under her wings, and you have shown your care by giving up your Son for my sake.

I confess today I found pleasure in watching a movie with my younger children and was encouraged by its Christian moral message on the importance of earthly fathers without reflecting on the joy I find in my relationship with you, my heavenly Father.

I confess today I have been too caught up in this world to rejoice in your deeper, truer, more fulfilling glory. My eyes have been on my world, my life, and not on you and your Son.

Please forgive me and help me to pay attention to you tomorrow.

Amen.

Child

I live forgiven as a dear child of the Father

Read: 1 John 2:12-14

I am writing to you dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. (1 John 2:12)

Reflect:

Growing up in a feminist culture, I am tempted to grumble at the lack of female nouns in these three verses. But women like me are addressed here, under the descriptor “children”. Should I take offence at such diminution? Never!

John clearly holds his “children” dear and close to his heart. So far in his letter, John has referred to his readers as “my dear children” (2:1) and “my friends” (2:7).  I too am John’s dear child because he proclaimed the gospel to me through his writings: in his Gospel, in his letters and in Revelation. I am John’s dear spiritual child, his offspring of faith. This is certainly nothing of which to be ashamed or dismayed.

Too, I am more than John’s faith-child, I am a child of God. I am not just John’s dear child, I am God’s dear child. Jesus has revealed the Father to me (John 10:38, 14:9) so that I might know God the Father (2:14) as his own adopted child (Galatians 4:4-5). His Spirit has taught me to call him “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6-7).

And then, what John says of me, God’s dear child, is immensely precious: My sins have been forgiven on account of the name of Jesus Christ. O what joy!

The knowledge of my guilt has been building from reading the last one-and-a-half chapters. Do I really walk in the light (1:7)? Do I truly live as Jesus did (2:6)? This guilt is washed away by the truth that my sins have been forgiven in Jesus’ name.

No, I do not always walk in the light of God. I do not constantly live as Jesus did. That is why I need Jesus.

But, Jesus has been faithful and he has ensured the forgiveness of my sins. He has done this through his identity (“name”) as “Word of Life” (1:1), granting me “eternal life” (1:2). Through Jesus, the Word of Life, I have been made acceptable to enter into the presence of my heavenly Father. Hooray!

Crux:

I live forgiven as a dear child of the Father through Jesus, the Word of Life.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty, Dear Abba Father,

Hallowed be your name!

May your name be great and sacred in all the earth. May your name be revered and worshiped by all people. May we no longer blaspheme, but know and rejoice in your name.

Thank you for your grace to me extended through Jesus, the Word of Life. As Peter said, “To whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.” I have none other but you. You forgave my sin and in that moment granted me eternal life. So though my flesh might die, my soul shall live as a new creation forever with you as your child.

I praise your name, O Word of Life, Jesus Christ.

Please grant me opportunities today to share the good news that in your name is forgiveness; that you love us as dear children; that in knowing Jesus we may know you, God my Father.

Amen.

Live

I live Christ in my everyday ordinary by loving other Christians

Read: 1 John 2:3-11

But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:5-6)

Reflect:

To live in Christ is to live as Jesus did. This is a huge undertaking: to obey Jesus’ word and to love God completely (2:5); and to love fellow believers (2:10). So what does it look like, in my everyday ordinary, to ‘live Christ,’ as I put it in my blog tagline?

It means to obey Jesus’ word: In 1 John 1:5 I read “the message” John and the other apostles “heard form him” and have “declare[d] to you”; this message is that “God is light.” To obey Jesus’ words (in this context) thus means to “live in the light” (2:10) because “the true light is already shining” (2:8).

To live in the light is to “love [my] brother and sister” (2:10): not specifically my biological brothers and sister-in-law, but to love my fellow Christians, my local church brethren.

I live Christ in my everyday ordinary Christian life by loving other Christians; loving them “as Jesus did” (2:6). I must love others joyfully and willingly, continuously and sacrificially, according to their need and not necessarily according to their wishes.

Crux:

I live Christ in my everyday ordinary by loving other Christians.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are light and truth. In the person and work of your Son Jesus Christ, the true light is shining forth, a brilliant blaze of glory.

May you be forever praised, forever loved, forever obeyed. May I praise you always, love you always, obey you always.

Please help me to live in Christ by living as Jesus Christ lived. Please help me to love my fellow Christians in acts of everyday ordinary sacrifice.

Thank you for helping me, in response to yesterday’s prayer, to be up and receiving and reflecting upon and responding to your word in the quiet peace of the early morning today. May I remember throughout this day your command to love my neighbour as I love myself.

Please help me to proactively love my son who is going through an unsettled time at the moment and my friend who has asked for my assistance with transport. Please keep me from being selfish with my time and talents, my money and means today LORD.

Amen.

All

I am forgiven and cleansed because Jesus atoned for all my sins

Read: 1 John 1:8-2:2

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)

Reflect:

1 John 1:9 is the verse that converted me to Christian faith. I saw clearly for the first time (though this was certainly not the first time it had been shown to me) that Jesus Christ had done all that was required by God for the forgiveness of my sin.

I saw that I did not have to be perfectly righteous on my own; Jesus Christ was able to do all that was necessary to cleanse and purify me.

This verse showed me the glory of the gospel and – thanks be to God – I grasped this glorious gospel firmly and clung thereafter to Christ.

Now, as I go on in my everyday ordinary Christian life, I struggle with the Spirit’s help to keep from sin. But I do so in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is my heavenly lawyer; pleading my case, interceding and advocating on my behalf though his own perfect righteousness. He has atoned for all my sins.

Crux:

I am forgiven and cleansed because Jesus atoned for all my sins.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

Jesus Christ, you are the Righteous One:
perfect keeper of God’s law;
perfect fulfilment of God’s promises;
perfect sacrifice for my sins;
perfect advocate for my forgiveness.
Jesus Christ, you are faithful and just.

I confess I am a sinner. I am lazy and again today I did not get up early to converse with you, but stayed in bed and did not think upon your word until the opposite end of the day.

I am sorry. Thank you for forgiving me.

Please purify me from my unrighteousness, whereby I do not seek fellowship with you but would prefer “a little sleep, a little slumber” even though this means I spend my day in spiritual poverty. Please cleanse me of my lazy selfishness that is so short-sighted.

Please make me eager again to meet with you and meditate on your word.

Amen.

Fellowship

I have fellowship with Christ and his Church through John’s words

Read: 1 John 1:1-7

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)

If we walk in the light, as he [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

Reflect:

John, together with the other apostles, was an eyewitness to Jesus Christ. John names him “Word of Life… the life… the eternal life.” John and the other apostles proclaimed what they had seen and heard, testifying about Jesus just as Jesus had predicted they would with the Spirit’s help (John 15:27).

It is through hearing/reading and believing John’s proclamation that I and other Christians have fellowship with John. We have become fellows, sharing something in common; or rather, sharing someone in common. Through John’s witness I have fellowship with God the Father and with God the Son, a truly amazing thought.

This fellowship extends to the whole church as we “walk in the light.” 1 John 1:5 tells me, “God is light” so this gracious fellowship extends to the church as we live godly lives. Yet it is not my godly life that makes me pure and sin-free; this is what the blood of Jesus, shed for me, has achieved: to cleanse me from my sin.

Crux:

I have fellowship with Christ and his Church through John’s faithful proclamation of what he saw and heard.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

It continues to amaze me that you should choose to make a way for there to be fellowship between us, for plain ordinary me to have a relationship with you, the God of the Universe. Especially on days like today, when it has been almost a week since I last spent time privately meditating on your word in a deliberate effort to deepen our relationship. You never went away from me, waiting patiently for me to open the covers of my Bible and listen again to your word. Forgive me for only meeting with you in public, with your people, and not in private, just the two of us.

Thank you for choosing me and calling me, for making a way for us to have fellowship through the incarnation of your Son and through the apostles’ faithful proclamation of the truth about what they saw and heard: Jesus Christ.

Thank you for revealing yourself: God, you are light and in you there is no darkness! Thank you for relaying this through the apostles.

LORD, You are light: truth, beauty, purity, perfection, excellence, illumination, instruction. You are wondrous in all of your ways.

May I walk in your light all my days. Thank you for the blood of Jesus, which purifies me and sanctifies me from all my sin.

Amen.