“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” 1 John 2:9-11
1 John contains some strong convictions about love. When we have any trace of hatred in our heart, we are still in darkness. Our hatred for a brother or sister keeps us blind and from loving God and others as we should. Notice verse 11: “they do not know where they are going.” Our hatred leads to blindness, which leads to losing direction! We are no longer following Christ when we harbor hatred. Loving our brothers and sisters completely is living in the light.
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your heart and any areas of darkness. Ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to love–especially those whom are hard to love. Clearly, hatred is not compatible at all with following Christ. We must allow any hatred to be completely uprooted from our hearts in order to walk in the light.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
We grasp at the seasons we consider good. The being born seasons, the planting seasons where we joyfully await the fruit of our labor. The building and healing seasons, and the laughing and dancing seasons. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything, a season for everything under the heavens. All of the seasons are necessary. Without the different seasons, we would not grow. We would not learn to rely on our Heavenly Father if the seasons were all easy.
I know that many believers, and the world in general, are enduring the difficult seasons: uprooting seasons, seasons where there is emptiness and mourning. There is even threat of killing and war. In these circumstances, we learn to lean on the Lord and His steady faithfulness. We learn to better love our neighbor. We learn to await His promises, and the joyous seasons. Embrace your season. This earthly life is temporary. Seasons don’t last forever, but the enduring love of our Father does.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'”~Isaiah 55:8-9
Do you ever just not understand the circumstances in your life? As humans, we need to admit that we don’t know much. Though humans have made progress and come up with advancements in many areas, there is still much unknown to the human mind.
It is difficult when we don’t understand the circumstances in our lives: when timing seems off, struggles, being faced with injustice, and more. There is peace when we realize that we don’t need to understand.We only need to trust.The passage above reminds us that the ways of the Lord are way above anything we can imagine. His thoughts are unfathomable to us. Someday we will better understand our lives, whether it be later in earthly life or during our eternal life. But for now, we need to seek and keep in mind our Creator.
The One Who created the heavens and the earth, and who knows every hair on our head, and every single moment of history? His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts at a much higher level than we could ever comprehend. I’m ready to trust Him and to not lean on my own understanding. How about you?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love. He destined us for adoption as His children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will.”~Ephesians 1:3-5
We are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Can you imagine that? Every spiritual blessing.Our God has withheld nothing from us! I think it is we who don’t grasp the blessings, but choose to dwell in darkness and sin instead of reaching for the light.
Isn’t it also amazing that God has adopted us? And that He chose us before the foundation of the world? We have always been a part of His vision for the world! Our God is not far off, but we can have a personal relationship with Him! We can call our God, “Abba,” Daddy! And He even sent Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to live among us as one of us. It was the good pleasure of His will that we would be adopted through Jesus Christ.He takes delight in us.
(These 3 verses pack a lot in and whole books could probably be written on they alone! Any other thoughts?)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”~Proverbs 3:5-6
How much do we make our focus wanting to know which path to take? For many of us, we expend a tremendous amount of our thought life and energy trying to “figure things out.” This can bring our hearts to places of confusion. It can bring us to trusting in ourselves and our own abilities to choose and decide. We lose focus of our Creator. Where should our hearts find their first priority? As these verses remind us, we must submit our hearts and our ways to God. We must trust in our God completely. When we submit to Him and trust Him in each area of our lives, He will make our paths straight. Living in a holy manner and in trust will keep us on a straight path to the Heavenly Father and the purpose in our lives.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.”~Habakkuk 2:3
So many times I have attempted to plan the timeline of my life. It is fruitless because life has never happened according to my timeline. I know that my God knows the timing of each detail of my life. Other translations of this verse, instead of saying “it will not delay,” say it “will not be late.” The timing of the Lord is perfect! Many times I’ve been tempted to think I am “late” in certain regards, but that thinking is not according to my Lord. Again, the Father’s timing is rarely, if ever, our timing! Remember that He has plans for your welfare and not for woe (Jeremiah 29:11). It is difficult to trust in the moments when we can’t see. Even though we can’t see one step in front of us, He has a vision. Every detail is working together. And He has given us a vision, too. But we must wait. We must continue to work in His vineyard faithfully, as we await the proper time and the fullness of the revelation. It will not delay-it will not be late.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”~Hebrews 10:23-25
The huge theme of this passage is encouragement. The author encourages the reader (you!) to hold fast to your hope in Jesus without wavering. This means that our hope protects from doubt. We are reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness. Even in difficult times, our God is faithful to us and upholding us. We are exhorted to encourage others and stir them up to good works. Christian community and its necessity is mentioned. We cannot neglect a faith community, and must hold strongly to it. Community strengthens all of the individuals within it, thus strengthening the Church as a whole. The book of Hebrews gives strong advice to us about running our race and enduring even in difficulty.
(It’s been a long time since I did one of The Word on Wednesday posts. I will try to be more consistent about this! Thanks for reading!)
Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.