every friday without fail for a month now bluefield has been assaulted by hundreds of billions of tiny white demons known to the general public as “snowflakes”. this assault has been of no consequence to my dear husband-to-be who grew up in upstate new york. but i’m pretty sure i was meant to be a california girl, despite my west virginia roots, and i hate snow; especially when it interrupts my life and changes my plans.
scripture assures me though that the heavens declare the glory of God, and i suppose this holds true even when those same heavens are filled to overflowing with crystalized water droplets. perhaps, the Lord allows snow days to foil my days plans so that i will be still, shut up and listen to Him (as that too is scriptural…).
this past friday was the snow day to end all snow days. life shut down. even the college cancelled classes – a phenomena that truly attests to the reality that there is a God. as the buckets of fluffy white flakes dumped themselves onto the town, i found myself in the book of 1 john.
i’ve been reading through andrew murray’s short work humility lately, and his reference to 1 john sparked my interest. it’s a shorter book, and, as the snow had successfully canceled life, i had plenty of time, so i decided to read the whole thing.
murray writes in humility:
“why is it that those who have joyfully given themselves up for Christ find it so hard to give themselves up for fellow Christians?”
this quote, in conjunction with 1 john, sparked my interest to generate the following thoughts…
“whoever says that he abides in Him (Jesus) ought to walk in the same way in which He walked…[and] this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He commanded us.” – 1 john 2:6, 3:23
we hear a lot about “believing” or “saying” things “in the name of Jesus” but how much do we understand this? do we even bother to catch the depth of what our Lord is asking of us here?
the word “name” in this passage is the greek word “onoma” which denotes “all that a ‘name’ implies, of authority, character, rank, majesty, power, excellence, etc. of everything that the ‘name’ covers: of the ‘Name’ of God as expressing His attributes, etc.” (Vine’s Bible Dictionary)
if we believe in the “name” of Jesus, is there not so much more richness than the so often hollow confession of the mouth?
belief in the “name” of Christ encompasses a belief in His character, a belief in His authority, a belief in His excellence, that He and He alone has demonstrated the way in which we are to live.
i’m no scholar, but Vine’s Bible Dictionary tells me that the word for “belief” that john most likely used is “pisteuo” which is a verb implying complete “reliance upon, not mere credence.”
belief is a verb.
perhaps, faith in Christ was never meant to be the object or subject or topic of creeds and liturgies.
“belief” is a verb.
“name” is a way.
belief in the Name is an adherence to a way.
a way that demands humility, compassion, and lowliness of heart.
just a chapter before john tells us to believe in the name of Christ, he tells us that we should walk in the way Christ walked. and i don’t think john was talking about Jesus’ swagger.
how far are we modern believers in Christ from our forefathers who adhered to His way?
this is the Lord’s command: to adhere to, to believe in the Name, the way of Christ, and to love one another.
if we cannot even express an adherence to the first part of His command – to walk in the way of Christ – is it any wonder we scarcely make it to the second half?
a few verses before, in 1 John 3:15, it says “everyone who hates…is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”
in a society in which the church is known more for what it hates than whom it loves, this verse rocks me to the core.
how can we claim to know the truth
how can we claim eternal life in Christ
when we harbor hate against our neighbor?
and remember please, i am not talking about what words come out of our mouths, i’m talking about what our lives say.
“little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 john 3:18)
“if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need and yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 john 3:17)
how can we love, how can we live, as typical american’s and claim Christ?
haiti was in dire need before the earthquake.
indonesia had need before the tsunami was even a raindrop.
and an estimated 2.5 million people will wake up homeless in our own backyard.
over 30% of them are children.
and what were our hearts burdened for this morning?
oh that God would shake and rouse the sleeping powerhouse of the church! that we might find ourselves on our knees before our Creator confessing a belief in His name that touches not just our lips but our lives. that we would be known not for what we hate, but for our all encompassing, all surpassing love which is reminiscent of the Lord Himself.
maybe i could use a few more snow days,