Thursday, July 26, 2012

Keep Walking

On Thursday’s I have been sharing a little bit of what I have been learning as I read through 1 John.

1 John is a letter written to the believers in Asia Minor.  Until this point, John has been giving examples of what a believer who walks with God looks like.  He has been contrasting these believers with those who say that they walk with God, but whose actions and beliefs do not support their claims.  He calls these people liars and says they walk in darkness.  John wants the believers to be able to recognize the difference between that which is true and that which is false. 

Now, John shifts his tone for a few verses to remind the believers that are receiving this letter of their standing before God.

“I am writing to you, dear children,
    because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I am writing to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young people,
    because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children,
    because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers, 
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young people,
    because you are strong,
    and the word of God lives in you,
    and you have overcome the evil one."   1 John 2:12-14 TNIV

It is clear upon reading these verses that there are three groups of believers that John is speaking to—children, fathers, and young people.  It also seems that these different categories are based on three ages of spiritual maturity.  John has a different reason for writing to each of them. 

To the children, John writes “because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name,” and “because you know the Father.”  These new believers are walking joyfully in relationship with God.  They walk in confidence that their sins have been forgiven because of Christ.  And they walk in relationship with God, having experienced Him.  They know the joy of newness of their faith. 

Do you remember that time in your relationship with God?

I do.  For me, it was a time of growth and discovery, a time when I couldn’t get enough of reading in Scripture and learning more about this God who loved me enough to redeem me through His Son, Jesus.  It was a time where I made new choices about how to conduct myself.  At that time, I was a rather sarcastic person.  I began to realize the grain of truth that made sarcasm hurtful and began to alter the way I spoke to my friends and my family.  It was a time of beginning to submit my eating habits to God, recognizing that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  It was such a joyous time in my faith journey.

John recognizes this and encourages these children in the faith, reminding them of what they are experiencing.  I like the way that the New Jerusalem Bible says it “you have come to know the Father.”  These believers are building their relationship with God.  They are coming to know the goodness of God, one experience at a time. 

If this is you...savor every moment and keep going.  Trust Him through all that may come.

To the fathers or “parents,” as some translations read, John writes, “because you know him who is from the beginning.”  These believers have walked with God for years and years.   They have been through both highs and lows and watched the provision of God in the midst of each circumstance.  These believers are the ones that have experienced the long faithfulness of God.  He has been there every step of the way.  John is reminding them of this.

This message isn’t one directed to me, yet.  But these are John’s words to the mature believers I look up to and want to learn from.  These are the ones with the stories I could listen to for hours as they speak of His faithfulness.  People like my mom and my parents-in-law.  And others like Chappie and Marybelle, Bob and Sue, Jerry and Patty, Alice, Don, Cindy, Dorothy, Jan, Anne, Judy, Jennie and SO many more. 

These believers are the ones who can talk about how to walk through the decades continuing to grow and learn and be submitted to God.  These are the ones who can talk about how to continue to live full of grace and peace and love when the world changes around you so much.  

What words of encouragement and wisdom they must hold of God’s faithfulness if I am willing to listen.  And as the years go by he will build this kind of knowledge of His faithfulness in me so that one day I will be one of the seasoned saints.  I think this is true for you as well.  Keep going. 

And if you fall into this category already?  Think back and remember His goodness.  Keep going and well done.

To the final group, the young people, John writes, “because you have overcome the evil one” and “because you are strong and the word of God lives in you and you have overcome the evil one.”  These believers are the ones who struggle daily to submit their lives to God, to keep their eyes focused on Christ.  They are in the midst of the battle. 

This is the group that seems closest to what I experience day to day, maybe for you too?  Daily struggling to live out what I believe.  Daily struggling to choose what is best—for my mind, for my eyes, for my ears, for my body and its actions.  This is the battle for my heart that takes place in every moment of life.  Will I choose to be submitted to Christ in this moment or not?

John’s words are comforting to me.  “You are strong.  The word of God lives in you.  You have overcome the evil one.”  These are words of encouragement.  You can do this.  You know God’s word.  It lives in you.  You know God’s Word.  He lives in you.  Abide in Him.  You have overcome the evil one.  You have overcome the evil one because of Christ.  He is greater than the one who is in the world.

Do you recall Jesus’ words? 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Our job is to abide in Christ.  Our job is to remain submitted to Him.  He brings peace in the midst of battle.  He is the one that overcomes the evil on in us.

If this is you...keep going one moment at a time. 

And the way that John writes these things to the children, parents, and young people? 

He writes in the present perfect tense.  A past decision made by these believers, to trust God, has yielded these present “consequences” (John Stott Commentary on the Epistles of John). 

The decision to trust Christ leads to new life and relationship with the Father.  The decision to walk with Christ leads to strength, knowing the word of God and overcoming the evil one.  And walking with Christ through the years leads to knowing the faithfulness of God, the one who is from the beginning and never changes. 

So be encouraged in the midst of John’s word, whether you are a new believer, a seasoned saint, or one in the middle.  Keep walking with Him and trust that He is doing something good in you.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we walk with God.  May we remember the excitement of life as a new believer.  May we learn to abide in Christ allowing him to bring peace in the midst of trouble—trusting that he who is in me is greater than the evil one of this world.  And may we come to discover the faithfulness of the God that never changes by walking with Him day after day, year after year, all our lives.

Jessica :)

P.S.  Thank you to my husband for the middle photo.  All of them were taken at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

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