I am studying through 1 John right now. This morning I was reading through chapter 3 and I got hung up on a few verses. In fact, I got so hung up that it took me some time before I could even read past them.
Lately, God has been doing something in my heart, and I don't know exactly what it is. What I do know is that continually find myself asking these questions: "Am I radical enough?" "Have I missed the point of all of this?" "Is God pleased with the life that I am living in his name?"
Here are the verses that God used to grip my heart this morning: 1 John 3:17-19
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him. (ESV)
Just read those verses as they stand. Set aside your presuppositions and your preconceived ideas about what what God requires of us and JUST READ.
Being honest, I know that I predominately love in word and talk and rarely (if ever) in deed and truth when it comes to those in need. But John says that the way I can know that I am of the truth and reassure my heart before God is if I love in deed and truth.
I want to be done with trying to explain away the hard teachings of Scripture. When we find ourselves saying things like "what it REALLY means is…" maybe it's not Scripture that needs explaining. Maybe it's our lives that need explaining before a Holy God.