A Few Thoughts on 1 John

Christ has no beginning or end. See the literal, yes, but see beyond the literal, too. Yes, John and the others saw, heard, and touched Jesus while He was on the earth, but it was so much more than that. They didn’t just see, hear, and touch a man but the essence of the Christ. A note in The Passion Translation says: The word for touch is poetic. It comes from a sensory verb meaning ‘to pluck the strings of an instrument’. It can also be translated ‘to feel’ (see Acts 17:27). It is as though John is saying, “We have plucked the chords of his being and felt what motivated him, his melody within.”

We are all a part of the fellowship with the Father whether we realize it or not.

We tend to look at light and darkness in a very binary way. On a very practical level, when we close our eyes, we see darkness. When we open them, we see light. When we close ourselves off from God we are in darkness. When we open ourselves to God we are in light. How often do we have a divine revelation of something (light) but still choose to do things our own way? This is darkness. Anytime we choose self over God we’re in darkness. We are one with God who is light, so we are never away from the light, we just close ourselves off from it at times. Sin is simply closing ourselves off from the light which is walking in darkness or blindness. The so called ‘wrong’ things we do are simply the result of the sin which is blindness.

The evidence of us knowing God in an intimate relationship is the fruit our life produces. When you are in a continually growing relationship with God you don’t have to try to change anything in your life. When you are aware of how loved you are, love begins to be reflected in your life and the self-centered thoughts and actions begin to fade. You don’t have to try; you just realize who you are, and change begins to take place. A true Christ relationship is not merely expressed by words but lived out in every area of your life.

Be careful not to be so literal or to read the Bible only through the lens of today. When it says to ‘love not the world’ it is not talking of our planet or people, but rather the self-centered, egoistic system which is antichrist (simply meaning against Christ). Antichrist is a mindset, not a literal person. We, as a society, are so focused on heroes and villains which is also an ‘us and them’ mindset. In reality we are all comprised of the hero and the villain. A true hero displays humility whereas a villain displays pride. I’m sure we’ve all allowed both to flow through us at times. It comes down to which one we give life to, humility or pride, Christ or antichrist. It makes me think of the Venom movies. Venom is a parasite that inhabits Eddie Brock, the host. Actually, Venom is an alien symbiote who forms a symbiotic bond with Eddie. Through this bond, a single entity is created. Throughout the movies you see Eddie’s process. Just because Venom is a part of him, Eddie doesn’t need to allow Venom to rise up and act out. He learns to be life in situations rather than death. Okay, maybe not an analogy everyone can relate to, but it works for me. We can be life for others. We don’t have to allow our self-centered mindset to act out.

In the second movie, Eddie had more of a handle on his relationship with Venom. He was learning to operate as one, to allow the positive mindset to take the driver’s seat rather than the negative, or might I say, antichrist mindset. The villain, however, hadn’t learned that. Carnage, the parasite, was not in a symbiotic relationship with Cletus, the host. When Eddie realizes this, he knows he can defeat him. The Christ mindset will always trump the antichrist mindset. Venom and Eddie were in unity whereas Carnage and Cletus were divided – two individuals fighting one another. When you’re at war within yourself you’re not in peace and therefore not able to bring peace to others.

Allow your relationship with Christ to continually expand. Oneness with truth snuffs out deception. Don’t get upset when someone doesn’t take notice of your journey in Christ. Not everyone is aware of the Christ journey. Some are still in darkness. Just keep being you and loving people.

We carry the DNA of God since He made us of Himself. This means there are certain God traits that we all have and that are displayed through each of us whether we’re aware or not. When we spend time in relationship with God even more traits are seen.

I love 1 John 3:4 in The Mirror. Distorted behavior is the result of a warped self-image! A lost sense of identity is the basis of all sin! This is so true. When we know who we are we’ll no longer feel the need to act out in our selfish ego. We’ll no longer try to prove we’re good enough. We’ll no longer harm others by pushing them down to feel better about ourselves. That’s such a warped idea anyway. You never truly feel better about yourself when you put others down.

It’s sad that we, as the present-day evangelical church, have become so literal and legalistic. Many preach that if you’ve asked Jesus into your heart, you are now a child of God. If you haven’t, you’re not. 1 John 3:10 says that if we’re not demonstrating righteousness and showing love to mankind, we’re not living with God as our source. Sadly, there are many who have asked Jesus into their hearts yet treat certain groups of people with such disgust.

Choose to love, even when it’s hard. I don’t understand why so many translations say ‘fellow believer’ or ‘brother in Christ’ in these verses. The definition of ‘brother’ in the Strong’s is ‘a brother (literally or figuratively) near or remote’ and it’s taken from the word meaning “the womb”. If mankind all comes from God, then all of mankind is my brother, not just those who think like me. It’s easy to love those who have similar values and opinions. We’re not supposed to only love those who are like us, but we are to love all of humanity. I love 1 John 3:18 in The Passion Translation. Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. When we continually press into our Christ identity, we can’t help but splash love onto everyone we come into contact with.

Don’t just believe everything you hear. In the church, for the most part, we’ve been taught to just believe what the pastor says without questioning or even really thinking for ourselves. It’s important to ask whether it lines up with the essence of who Christ is. That’s a good measuring point. Be actively engaged in your Christ journey. Search things out. Discuss things with God and with people. Be open to learning and growing.

Every human being was created in the image and likeness of God. We’re not just ‘sinners’ or ‘sinners saved by grace’. We are the DNA of God in the earth. We may not realize it, but that’s exactly who we are.  Unfortunately, we can do a lot of damage when we get wrapped up in a false reality.

When you truly know that you are loved, no matter what you’ve done, it’s easier to truly love others. Remember, love isn’t the happy, ooey gooey feelings. Love is laying your life down for others. The source of love is God. Press into relationship. There is so much waiting for us to discover!

1 John 4:12a in The Passion Translation says No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. The note on the word ‘gazed’ says that the Greek verb was used in classical Greek for “watching a play or spectator sport”. We were never meant to be mere spectators of God. We were meant to be in an active, participating relationship.

I pray we all have a greater revelation of love. Love with conditions is not really love. We don’t have to agree with people to love them. If we truly love people, we will value them as love and value go hand in hand.

Fear and love don’t mix. It’s sad that some of the most fearful people are those who claim to be in relationship with God. Some are so afraid of God, of judgment, of people who think differently, etc. Loving God means loving humanity. Period. Sadly, we’ve made God into a white, straight man who has privilege over anyone who is different. God cannot be categorized in that way. God is expressed through all of humanity, not simply the ones we choose.

When we live as children of God, as the offspring of His identity, we live a life of love. Love is evident in our actions and our intentions. We don’t live according to the world’s system. Love is our guide.

Jesus Christ tangibly showed us the life of the Father – life as it was intended – a life of loving others. When we acknowledge Jesus’ life of love as the life we are to live then we can truly experience life as it was meant to be. The Mirror puts it beautifully in 1 John 5:12. To mirror-echo the Son is to mirror-echo life; those who ignore this inner resonance concerning the Son, miss out on the very life of their design!

Believing in the name of the Son of God and having eternal life is so much more than we make it out to be. We tend to say that if you believe Jesus lived, died, and rose again then you’ll go to heaven when you die. Believing in is not simply acknowledging. Believing in is putting trust in, committing to. It speaks of an engaged life, not mere mental acknowledgement. How many of us who say we believe in Jesus are actually living an engaged life in oneness with Him? Do we hear His heartbeat? Are we concerned with the things that concern Him? Are we living for ourselves and our needs or are we living for others? Are we actively pursuing and engaging with the outcasts of society as He did? I could go on and on. Also, it says ‘believe in the name of the Son of God’. Name signifies identity. The literal name ‘Jesus’ is not a magic word as some tend to use it. Get to know the identity of Jesus. Engage in an active, ongoing relationship. True eternal life is living fully engaged in Christ’s identity. It’s not for the afterlife, it’s for always.

When you come across people living life engaged in self, gently remind them who they truly are. Most people respond much better to words of life. Don’t tell people how awful they’re acting. They already know. Tell them who they truly are, even if they’re not living it yet. Give people hope. Hope brings life. Hopelessness takes life. Your words may be the stepping stone out of their misery.

See yourself as God sees you. Anything else is a distorted image. We are not to set distorted images (of us or of others) before our eyes. Distorted images are idols.


By Robin Wlodarczyk

Robin, along with her husband, Mike, is pastoring the church the rainbow centre in Kamloops.

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