19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.
23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Big themes in the letters of John are those of love and sin, following God’s truth, and having confidence in our relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Throughout this letter, John speaks of love and making love real by the good things we do. When we know Jesus, we know God. Because we know Jesus, because we have been born of God, we want to do what is right.
Love one another, because we are God’s children. Love one another, because we have passed from death into life. As Jesus laid down his life for us, so we should live sacrificially for others. In John’s mind, that means caring for those who are poor or in need of help.
This is a time of year when we rightfully should contribute food items to stock food pantries, but any time of the year there are people who go hungry. This is a time when we want to help others by bringing in socks and mittens and gloves and hats for those who are supported by Geauga Jobs and Family Services. Our angel tree at church will have suggestions for gifts you may purchase for our two Christmas families.
As John reminds us, faith is most real when it is lived out in obedience to God’s design. Believe in God through Jesus Christ. Love others as yourself. As you do those things you will live in God and God’s Spirit will live in you.
It sounds so simple, Lord, to realize that we do not live to ourselves. We live through faith in Jesus and we live to do your will and help others. Lord, give us confidence that we can do these things, because you live within us and guide us to make good decisions. We praise you in Jesus Christ. Amen.