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3:16.8 The Power of Love (1 John 3:16), part 3
I think the reality is: Most of us are “slow burners” like Cain was. If we allow ourselves to think like Cain did, we get angry about how people have treated us. We replay the incident, over and over and over again, in our minds. In fact, if we think someone will listen, we’ll replay incident for them. But we’re not just retelling the story; in actuality, we are RELIVING the Story. We’re re-FEELING the emotions, the pain and hurt and the rage - and at every “re-play” the emotions, pain, hurt and rage grows.
I read of a teacher, at a Christian school, who was famously known for his elaborate object lessons. One day, when his students came to class, they saw a big target hanging on the wall, and a number of darts on a nearby table. The teacher told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person’s picture.
One girl drew a picture of the girl who had stolen her boyfriend. Another student drew a picture of his little brother. Still another drew a picture of the teacher, putting a great deal of detail into the drawing. When they were all finished, the teacher hung their pictures one at a time over the target and the class lined up and began to laugh and enjoy themselves as they threw their darts at their particular picture.
Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart. At last, as the class was nearing its end, the teacher had the students take their seats. And then he began to remove the underlying target from the wall. The one over which the students had hung the pictures they had drawn.
And underneath that target was a picture of Jesus. A complete hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face and His eyes were pierced out. The teacher then said only the words of Matthew 25:40, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these of my brother and sisters, you were doing it to me!” NLT.
The Bible tells us, that because you and I are Christians, we must love as Jesus loved us. We must forgive, as Jesus forgave us. So the first thing, John reminds us about, is how we should love, because that’s NOT how we used to live.
And then John reminds about how we should love, because this IS how we’re supposed to live. In fact, the more we love, the more of God we have in our life. 1 John 3:23-24 tell us, “… this is his commandment: we must believe in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with Him, and He with them. And we know He lives in us because the Spirit He gave us lives in us” NLT.
You see, if – as Christians – we love one another, then God LIVES IN US. AND His Spirit controls us. Paul says nearly the same thing in Galatians 5, when he tells us the fruit of the Spirit is:“Love… joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness…” and so on.
If we have God’s love dwelling within us, that is a mark that we are anointed by God. His Spirit lives within us. Love is the marker that tells us… we belong to Him.
Medication: A Merry Heart
Harry hosted a dinner party. One of his guests was a surgeon.
While deftly carving the roast, Harry kept up a running commentary: “How am I doing, Doc? How do you like that technique? I’d make a pretty good surgeon, don’t you think?”
When Harry had finished and the slices of meat lay neatly on the serving platter, the surgeon spoke up: “Anybody can take them apart, Harry. Now let’s see you put them back together again.”
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
Verse of the Week: Exodus 20:7
Today’s readings: Proverbs 10 – 12