1 John 4 • Devotion #2: People are so Interesting

People are so interesting. We look for affirmation from other people for who we are as individuals and what we are doing. We are so concerned with whether someone “tolerates” us for our actions or lifestyles that if someone does not agree with us, we become militant and confrontational to the point of hatred for one another. It is sad and causes division amongst those created in God’s image. We have lost the ability and desire to “love one another.”

Recently on vacation, I was just sitting watching people. There is a prevailing disregard or lack of concern for other’s created in God’s image. We seem to be oblivious to other’s needs at the expense of our desire to read a text, talk on the phone, read an email, laugh at the joke of the day, or find the nearest Starbucks! We struggle with being genuinely selfless (unless it benefits us), but display every attribute of selfishness. We are so distracted by and concerned with the things of the world (that were meant to be a blessing to us) that we allow Satan to use them as the primary tool to cause separation between ourselves and God. He, Satan, is a deceiving spirit. 

In 1 John 4:4-6, the Apostle John explains it this way, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They [the deceiving spirits] are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” We are not to be like others who do not have the Spirit of truth dwelling in them. We are to be sensitive to the Spirit of God that dwells inside of us to show love and concern to those that are deceived by the spirit of deception. We, as a creation, have become deceived. What we want or perceive as a need is more important than what others want or need. Had Jesus displayed this same characteristic, none of us would be able to be possessed by the Spirit of God. We would have no hope of a relationship with God.

Later in 1 John 4, the apostle gives us the solution. Verses 20 and 21 state it plainly, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for us to have a restored relationship with Him (John 3:16). Jesus loved us so much that He came to Earth not to give us a death sentence that we deserved, but to give us hope of eternal life (John 3:17).

In my mind, this is the logical conclusion. God, the Father, displayed His love by sending God the Son. He displayed love by His sacrifice and gift of God the Holy Spirit to live inside of us as the great Influencer of the divine attribute, love. We as Christians should conclude that our responsibility is to selflessly love our brothers (and sisters) as a demonstration that the Spirit of truth lives within us. This gives us the right to share the truth with them that will set them free from the spirits that deceive them.

Jesus committed the ultimate selfless love act in laying down His life for those that He considered His friends, humanity. In John 15:12-13, Jesus made this statement, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Are we willing to lay down the things of the world that distract us from showing love? It may not require us to lay down our lives, maybe just our smartphones. Maybe if we do, we will realize that people are really interesting!

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