Posts tagged Love
Because I Know Jesus {DWITW 365}
IMG_0159.JPG

What do you think of when you hear the word “confidence?” For me, I imagine a beautiful lady nailing a public speech with perfectly quaffed hair and a killer outfit being met with a standing ovation. Or, I imagine a ballerina bending and jumping in a tiny thigh-gap-exposing-tutu in front of a large live audience. Confidence to me has always been tied to looking good, performing well, and being adored by others.

As I read through 1 John, I see John writing about confidence, and WITH confidence, as He addresses his letter to God’s children. This confidence that John describes and exudes has nothing to do with the confidence that I’ve summed up in my own brain. It is not simply something we can muster up out of our own willpower, but it is gifted to us by our good Father. And it is not for our own glorification, but that of His. If I could sum up 1 John, it would be: God loved us and made Himself known to us through His Son Jesus, who saved us from our sins. Now, that breeds true confidence, and oodles of it.

God loved us and made Himself known to us through His Son Jesus, who saved us from our sins. Now, that breeds true confidence, and oodles of it.

John insists that we are God’s children. And in that station, we are born into an identity of confidence. Why? Because when you are secure in your position with God as your Father, not much scares you, whether in life or death.

He specifically writes about confidence four times in his first letter, starting in 2:28 where he writes, “And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink in shame at His coming.” This refers to when Jesus comes again, but the statement also encourages us to approach Him now. No longer do we have the stain of sin to separate us from our Father, as Jesus took that upon Himself. In order to have confidence in Christ, we can not be strangers with Him, so John encourages us to embrace our position as His child, with every intimacy that this relationship affords.

This intimacy will remove your past and present shame stemming from sin. The next time John specifically mentions confidence is in 3:21 when he writes, “Beloved if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” When you are a child of God, you will hate your sin. The Holy Spirit will expose your sin to you and begin to change you. No longer will you live in condemnation (Romans 8:1), but you will have confidence to ask God to keep doing the good work of sanctification in you. You will see you are not as you should be, but praise God for this! You have hope that the Holy Spirit is making you like Jesus, and you are confident He will finish that good work in you. As Paul writes in Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

We can also have confidence to approach Him boldly in prayer and know that He will hear us when we do. John writes in 1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.”

Not only can you be confident for the past, that you are forgiven, and for the present, that He is making you like Christ, but for the future as well. In 1 John 4:17, John writes “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.” We are confident that when Jesus comes again, our Judge will find us blameless because when God sees us He sees Jesus. We can have confidence that Jesus and His salvation for us remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

John doesn’t just tell, he shows. He explicitly mentions confidence these four times, but in total, the book of 1 John says “know” 33 times. John is giving an account of what he knows for sure, and all because of WHO he knows for sure. John knows Jesus. And we know Jesus. Because of this knowledge, we can be confident….

 

In the love of the Father (1 John 3:1)
In His promises of eternal life (1 John 2:25)
In His truth (1 John 3:18-19)
In His testimony (1 John 5:6-12)
In the Holy Spirit’s teaching and in His anointing (1 John 2:27)
To practice righteousness (1 John 3:10)
To love the family of God, even if it requires sacrifice from us (1 John 3:16-18)
When we experience hatred from the world (1 John 3:13-15)
When we encounter antichrists (1 John 2:18-24)
That His victory is our victory (1 John 5:4)

There are probably several more confidences I have yet to discover from this rich book, but this I know: I am walking taller today than I am before I studied this book. Why? Because I am God’s child, and because I know Jesus.

IMG_0010.PNG

Jillian Vincent loves Jesus. She's a wife, mother of two boys and a Dayton enthusiast. Jillian currently is a stay at home mama and spends nap times jotting on her blog and discipling other women. She would (almost) die for an avocado, a cup of coffee made by her husband, a novel that makes her cry, and a bouquet of sunflowers.

The Calling of Love {DWITW 365}
26367E70-4975-4784-A697-5B1CE4DD1194.jpeg

Fistfuls of silverware clatter to the floor with a clamor of youthful surprise. Eager to help, but underestimating the capacity of their little hands, my children have joined in the ritual of emptying the dishwasher. Some days it goes without incident. More often, the task is marked by a childish zeal that lands the forks and spoons near our feet before they end up returning to the silverware drawer.

It’s in considering the unfolding of such mundane acts, like children putting away dishes, that Paul came to mind. Paul served as a spiritual father to so many: guiding, correcting, and encouraging. He was a vibrant conduit for the message of God’s kingdom, God’s unrelenting grace, and the ultimate Lordship of Jesus. How many moments of youthful zeal did he witness yield unintended outcomes? How many opportunities did he have to offer guidance and reassurance to those young in their faith as they grew in maturity? What was it like to see that generation of God’s children grow up?

Often after children have grown, there comes a time when they are ready for greater independence. In Acts 20, there is such a time in Paul’s missionary journey. He summons the church elders from Ephesus to come and see him in Miletus. He reminds them of his mission to testify about the good news of God’s grace; to declare to Jews and Greeks alike, their need to turn to God and have faith in Christ alone. At this time, the Holy Spirit is compelling Paul on toward Jerusalem. Regardless of the cost, he refuses to resist the direction of the Spirit and the calling to testify of Christ.

He calls them to seek God and His Spirit to work in them and through them. He calls them to remember what Jesus has done…

Though he loves them dearly, Paul knows he will not see the Ephesian elders again and shares this reality with them. In the last face-to-face exhortation Paul extends to these church leaders, he calls them to cling to the truth of the gospel of God’s grace and to be carefully attentive to themselves and the church in which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers. Paul calls the church elders of Ephesus to a task they cannot complete in their own power. He calls them to seek God and His Spirit to work in them and through them. He calls them to remember what Jesus has done, what His death has accomplished, what His blood has redeemed.

So often I try to pick up as much as I think I can carry only to find that I am unable to do what I thought I could. Writing, mothering, homemaking, teaching; the list goes on and on of things I grab by the fistful to tuck into the rows of hours, days, and weeks that line my calendar. Like my children, I underestimate my own capacity. Though my body feels grown, I have much growing yet to do. My good intentions clatter to the floor, like silverware, as I have picked up too much with the excitement that accompanies possibility. In the face of that possibility, I am inclined to forget my greatest need: guidance from the Holy Spirit.

It is in the space of falling short, that I better understand the good news of grace and the redemption of Christ. I am not called to perfection or performance, but to reliance on the Spirit of grace. What I have been given to oversee and care for are not tasks, but people and hearts and souls. The reach of my words and attitudes carries farther than I realize. My mission is not one of accomplishing or cleaning or cooking, but of caring for, listening to, and mothering the people that intersect my days. My calling is love. In the midst of the day-to-day, my prayer has become:

 

“God, help me to dwell on the reality of Your grace. Jesus, keep me mindful of what Your incarnation and death has meant for the world. Spirit, teach me how to love and speak and act out of Your abundance.”

 

Lord, may we be women who love well, who seek to fill our hands with Your good news of grace, that we may share it readily. May we be women who listen, who incline our hearts to your Holy Spirit and His promptings, that we may walk in obedience to You and the hope of Your truth. Amen.

E417AC7C-05D7-4E46-A943-C2DED76054AE.png

Robin Zastrow wants to live in a world where coffee never gets cold and kindness abounds. When she's not discovering the wonders of construction paper and cardboard tubes with her two little ones, you can find her sneaking in another few pages of a book or jotting down bits of writing on scraps of paper.

One of her favorite Scriptures is:“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 ESV