Tuesday, November 15, 2016

If We Know Better, We Should Do Better

One of the details to which authors have to attend is their brand. If you've read many John Grisham books, you know he writes legal thrillers. Often, the underdog overcomes the "big guy" because of dogged determination. When he wrote "The Unpainted House," he went "off brand" and sales plummeted.

I have a "brand" for my novels, too. I write about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the midst of crisis because of the power of Christ in them. Prayer plays a big part in every one of my stories. The three novels currently in edits all have that same theme. The story lines are vastly different, but the truth conveyed is the same. 

In a way, my brand is the "why" behind my writing. 

I realized this morning that John had a "why" behind his writing, too. In chapter 2 of 1 John, he uses the same phrase nine times. "I am writing to you because..." He has written to convey certain truths and spelled it out to be sure his readers didn't miss them. 

1) "I am writing... that you may not sin." (2:1)
2) "I am not writing a new commandment... but an old one..." (2:7)
3) "On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment..." (2:8)

(The old/new commandment is about loving your neighbor. If you don't love,    
you're in the dark. If you love, you're in the light.)

4) "I am writing... little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name' sake..." (2:12)
5) "I am writing... fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning... (2:13)
6) "I am writing... young men, because you have overcome the evil one." (2:14)
7) "I have written... fathers... because you know Him who has been from the beginning." (2:14)
8) "I have written to you, young men, because you are strong... the word of God abides in you... you have overcome the evil one." (2:14)
9) "I have not written... because you don't know the truth, but because you do know it..." (2:21)

It may seem like too much sugar for a nickel, but looking at all nine "I have written's" helps us see the point of John's writing. 

He goes on to say, "See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us..." (3:1) and "when He appears, we shall be like Him." (3:2)

John was writing to believers who were dispersed abroad. They understood that Jesus had given them forgiveness for their sins and power over the evil one so that they could resist temptation. The problem wasn't so much what they were doing, but what they weren't doing.

The problem was love. It was in short supply.

One day, John told them, we'll see God face-to-face and we'll understand about His great love for us. We'll become just like Him, and we will have a great love, too. In the meantime, we should cultivate love. We should actively work at loving others. In fact, if you don't love the brethren, John said, you need to reevaluate whether or not you belong to Christ.

Those are hard words to hear in these difficult times, but they are no less true. We are to love our neighbor as our self, and particularly to love our fellow believers, but we don't. Instead, we have a tendency to act just like the world... backbiting, gossiping, speaking ill of others, arguing. Where's the love of Christ in all that? No where.

Today, let's take a close look at our own lives. Are we loving as Jesus loved? We know better, but are we doing better? 

If we're honest, we all have room for improvement. For once, let's take a deep breath and make a fresh choice. Let's choose love. Hold our tongue, stifle our comments, and choose love.

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; and such we are..." 1 John 3:1 nasb
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Living Like We Were Worth It
If you'd like to help support this ministry outreach, here's the link to give: Global Outreach Acct 4841
#love #Jesus