Skip to main content

Get rid of the gaps

There have been times when someone has asked me how we can really know if someone is a believer - one who has more than just the "title" of Christian, but actually lives as a Christian in their day to day existence. I really believe the person is probably asking because they have been "burned" in some relationship by someone professing to be a Christian, but really not living by the testimony they have proclaimed to be true about their lives. We often see people leave the church, family, or other type of relationship simply because someone "burned" them. It is a sad thing, but it is true. Faith comes in all kinds of packages - some 'packages' are quite genuine, others are mere displays of what might have been if the 'package contents' were allowed to be unloaded. Today's passage gives us a kind of "barometer" for evaluating if our faith (or the faith of another) is real (genuine).

This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. (I John 4:13-16)

Let me begin as John did - genuine faith is evidenced by living steadily and deeply in Christ and he in us!  When two are this intimate, there is evidence of the intimacy of the relationship, is there not? First, it is a steady relationship - there aren't a whole lot of breaks in it. In other words, it is a daily, moment-by-moment thing! When we "go steady" with another person, isn't one of the key ideas of this relationship "status" to be dedicated to the other person and that person alone? I think this is the concept John is getting at here - living steadily, in such a manner so as to show no desire to have any other relationship matter as much to us as does our relationship with Christ. Second, it is a two-way relationship - we are "into" him, and he is "into" us. When I was younger, we used to say someone was "into" something, meaning they really liked, found huge pleasure in, and were not easily swayed from their commitment to the thing or person they were "into". Perhaps this is what John has in mind here - begin so "into" each other that we don't have any desire for something else to fill our time, energies, or focus.

Genuine faith is also evident in the life that is reproduced. "He's given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit." When life is "given" there is a reproducing effect, is there not? For example, when we plant a grapefruit seed, tending it well, giving it just the right environment to grow, doesn't it produce that from which it was planted? Yep, it becomes a grapefruit tree. So, if Christ "plants" his life in us, won't what is produced in us be his life? Yep, we become "kindred" spirits! His Spirit meshes with our spirit and we take on the image of the one from which all life is produced. So, in looking upon an individual, we might do well to examine the spirit - for the spirit is the place of "intertwined" relationship with the Lord. Most importantly, those who "proclaim" faith in Christ actually "live out" faith in Christ because they have a continual intimate relationship with him. There aren't a whole lot of gaps in their relationship. This speaks of "continuity". Let me give you an example to help you get hold of this concept. If we take a piece of paper and fold it over on itself, we form a "pocket" of sorts, but both ends are open, allowing for the escape of anything we put into the "pocket". Now, get some glue and spread it evenly across the surface of the ends, pushing the paper together on the edges. What happens is that you "seal" the pocket so it can hold what we put into it.

We still have paper, folded in two, but it changed because of the "continuity" of the edges. The two became one with the use of the "glue". I think we often "transform" who we are by the "closeness" of the relationship we have not just on the edges of our lives, but also in what is formed in the process of "sealing up" the edges. In other words, we form a "pocket" for Christ's love to dwell, overtaking us and transforming us in every way. Living out faith is nothing more than being continually filled with the goodness of Christ. The two becoming one allow for the "stuff" put into our lives through relationship with Christ to actually be "contained" in our lives - giving us evidence of relationship. Sometimes we see the "edges" of life as a little unimportant. I hope you see that even the "edges" of life are significant! Without "sealing" the edges, we might just be in "casual" contact with the one we'd do much better learning to contain! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean