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Oct 30, 2022 06:00am
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I have a friend who labels everything. Everything. When her kids were little she had the cutest tags on every drawer, bin, and box: “diapers,” “legos,” “sippie cups…” I’m pretty sure she knew where everything was, but she didn’t want anyone else to wonder what or where something was. She didn’t want them to miss it.

That’s the reason we label things, isn’t it? We don’t want to overlook or miss anything, and we don’t want others to overlook or miss anything either.

I thought about my friend recently when I was reading 1 John. I noticed John liked to label things as well. Multiple times throughout the letter, he begins sentences and phrases with “this is…” The original language uses a word that, like labels or signs, calls attention to what follows. He must not have wanted his original readers, and now us, to miss what he was writing to them.

As I read, I made a list of everything he “labeled,” and I want to share it with you:

This is the message…
This is how we know what love is…
This is how we know that we belong to the truth…
This is how we set our hearts at rest in His presence…
This is how God showed His love among us…
This is love…
This is how love is made complete among us so we have confidence…
This is how we know that we love the children of God…
This is the one who came by water and blood…
This is the testimony…
This is the confidence we have in approaching God…

After making a list, I noticed all of them fall into one of three categories:
The message of Jesus, God’s Love, or our Confidence.

It’s important to note that John wrote this letter to Christians who were being opposed by false teaching. He wanted to expose the false teaching by highlighting the truth. He didn’t want them to miss the clear and solid truths of the message–the message about Jesus, the message displaying God’s love, and the message that gives unwavering confidence.

If John found these truths to be so important that he called attention to them, we would be wise to pause and take them in as well.

He wanted them, and now us, to know what love is, where it comes from, and how to live in light of that love. He even highlighted how our human love is not how love is defined, but Christ’s sacrificial love is the definition.

THIS is how we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life.

How does this give us confidence? It gives confidence because our faith and the security of our faith has been established and secured by God. We have not attained right standing with Him by our good life, but by His power. Since it is God who has done such work, we cannot undo it. And that, my friend gives confidence.

I encourage you to open 1 John and make a list of your own. What do you notice?

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