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1 John 3:24

I have shared in the past that my family was not and still is not a very demonstrative family. We seldom say “I love you” to one another. And yet for my entire life I have known that my parents loved me, as did my sister and brother.

How could I possibly know that if we rarely said it? I knew it in the way we dealt with one another. I knew my parents loved me because of the way they sacrificed for my benefit and how they provided me with good things. They lived out their love for me.

John has a few things to say about the results of our faith. What does he say about those who obey the commands of Jesus? How do we know the Spirit of Jesus is in us?

This concluding statement in Chapter 3 can seem a little vague, but it is a powerful summation of what John is saying in the chapter. If we believe in Jesus, then we have faith in Jesus. If we have faith in Jesus, then we live in Jesus.

And what does that mean? It means that we act as Jesus acted. Our behavior is like the behavior of Jesus – we care for others, we actively try to do good for other people, we are compassionate and giving.

But to live in Jesus means that such an attitude and such behavior is not something we force ourselves to do. It may be something that does not come easily at first and so may require some force in the beginning. But when we truly begin to live in Jesus and make him a part of who we are this loving nature of ours comes naturally and flows freely.

When we have achieved that result of our faith then we will know that what John says here is true. We are living in Jesus and he is living in us. We will know that by the Spirit God has given us. We will be living out this Spirit of godliness, of tremendous and genuine love for others. It will be a natural part of who we are.

The result of faith is living faith. If we will really believe in Jesus, if we will really have faith in God, then we will live out that faith in the way we think and feel and act in all we do. Our faith will go beyond words and become the act of living.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you live out your faith?

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John 15:13-14

A pastor years ago used a story about a young boy in one of his sermons. According to the story the boy’s brother needed surgery and the doctor asked the boy to provide a blood transfusion for his brother. The boy agreed and they hooked him up to his brother and started the surgery.

Everything was going smoothly, but after a few minutes the doctor noticed the boy crying and asked what was wrong. Was he in pain? Was he afraid?

“No,” the boy said. “I’m just waiting to die.”

The doctor assured the boy that his brother only needed some of his blood and not all of it, but it was admirable that he was willing to give himself completely for his brother.

Such an attitude is the attitude we should have toward everyone else if we are children of God and we have faith in Jesus. What does Jesus say about love? How do we show that we are friends to Jesus?

This saying of Jesus is both difficult and easy. It is difficult because the thought of sacrificing our own lives for the sake of a person we care about can be hard to accept. It is easy because the likelihood of our needing to give away our lives for another is not very probable.

The statement Jesus makes in verse 13 is plain and simple. Great love for another can be shown by giving up your own life for that person. But the comment in verse 14 seems to qualify the statement.

If we were ever called on to give up our life to save another then our ministry is over. We are finished. We have done our utmost and no more can be expected of us.

However, showing Jesus that we are his friend by doing what he has commanded can seem like a more difficult challenge. It is not a “once and done” type of approach. Obeying the commands of Jesus is a daily challenge for us, one that must be lived out over and over again.

But this is the result of our faith. If we believe in Jesus we are children of God, we are friends to Jesus. And as friends of Jesus we will live out our faith by showing mercy and compassion, by giving up our lives for others – not through our own deaths but by sacrificing our own comforts and desires for the benefit of those in need.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How do you show that you are a friend of Jesus?

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John 14:12

Many things get better over time. When I was in school my education was much better, more in-depth and thorough than the education my parents received. Technology improved and the ability to provide information was better.

Today our children are receiving an even better education than my wife and I received. When they come home with stories of the capabilities and equipment the school possesses I am amazed. Their school work is so much more challenging and beneficial than what I went through.

Faith can be like that in many ways. We are called by Jesus to live out our faith in God, and that challenge may be very intimidating to many people. We may feel that we cannot do great things with our faith, but Jesus has given us some assurance.

In John 14 the disciples have questioned Jesus about their relationship with God. It is then that Jesus explains that the work he has done exhibits the love of God. What does Jesus say about those who have faith in him? What promise does he give?

Jesus was able to do incredible miracles in his ministry here on earth. He was able to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and provide comfort for so many in need. But that ministry had to come to an end because Jesus would give himself over to be crucified and eventually return to the Father in heaven.

But that does not mean the good and holy ministry of Jesus has to end. Rather, the ministry of Jesus must continue, and it must continue with us. The result of our faith is to live out the ministry Jesus began.

Jesus has told us that if we have faith in him, if we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then we will do the ministry he started. We also will help those in need, offer forgiveness, and provide comfort and guidance.

And the amazing thing is that Jesus says we will do even more than this. Our ministry can go beyond the incredible work that Jesus did on earth. We may feel that we are not good enough or capable enough to do the good work of Jesus, but he assures us that the result of our faith – true faith – will give us the ability to do even greater work than Jesus did. What is essential is that we really believe and that we live out our faith.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How will you continue the ministry of Jesus?

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James 1:22

Many years ago we bought a cardio-fit machine. It was a relatively simple device that looked something like a stationary bike. You were supposed to sit on the seat and pull the handles back while pushing forward on the foot rests. The actions helped to get your heart beating faster while it developed upper arm and leg strength.

The problem was that the device sat in a spare room and no one used it. It was a great exercise machine but it only worked if you actually used it.

Our faith is a valuable thing. The love of God is a tremendous gift to the world, but if it goes nowhere then we aren’t doing what we are supposed to. James has some simple instruction on living out faith. What should we NOT do? What should we do?

The development of our physical bodies, our health and fitness require that we invest the time and effort to accomplish anything. The same is true of our faith. If we will be children of God and people who believe in Jesus we must live out our faith. The result of belief is living out the belief.

It is so easy to be the type of Christian who likes to be fed by the goodness of God. We can find ourselves attending worship services for years and years. We can be the type of person who takes part in Bible studies and learns all the many lessons of our faith. We can enjoy the comforting and heart-warming knowledge of God’s love.

But we need to be more than that. We cannot simply sit and absorb the lessons Jesus presents and then do nothing. The result of faith must be the living out of faith. As James tells us, “Do what it says.”

The last words of Jesus recorded in Matthew are for believers to go into all the world and make disciples. We cannot simply nod our heads in agreement with this wonderful sentiment. We cannot see the validity and necessity of sharing the love of God and then sit and do nothing.

If we will be children of God and true followers of Jesus Christ we will live out what we have heard. We will live out the teachings of Jesus by actually going out and helping those in need, sharing the love of God with others, and being a force of compassion and comfort for those in need.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How will you do what the Word of God says today?

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1 John 3:8-9

One of the activities the participants do in confirmation class and in the new member class is to take two magnets and try to push the ends together. If the two ends are the same pole the magnets will not connect. There is an invisible force which pushes the two apart as if there was an object between them.

It serves as a tangible lesson in how we should be with sin. We should be unable to connect with it.

What does John say about those who sin? Why did Jesus come for us? What does John say about people who are born of God? What keeps us from sinning?

John has spoken about the reality of Jesus in Chapter 1. He speaks of how we should live out our beliefs in Chapter 2. Now he presents the results of our faith.

If we are truly children of God, if we accept the reality of Jesus and live out our lives as imitations of who Jesus is, then we are born of God. We are made into pure people, people who truly love our Lord. If we are those people then we cannot continue sinning.

This is the result of true faith. We become different people. As human beings we have the tendency to sin, the likelihood of failing and falling to temptation. But accepting Christ purifies us and drives out sin.

This is why Jesus came, to make us different people. He died so that we might be cleansed of our sins. And then we are commanded to make the goodness and holiness of Jesus part of who we are. If we can allow Christ into our hearts to serve as our spiritual guide then we will be living a life of holiness rather than a life of sin and error.

If we are children of God then sin will not be part of our lives. Sin cannot dwell in our hearts if we have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus and we are living out the love of Christ. If we can embrace the goodness of Jesus and allow the love of God to exist in our hearts to guide us in all that we do we will not be sinful. It will not be part of how we act.

The presence of Jesus inside us can strengthen us to do what is right and resist that which is evil.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you become a child of God?