Loving Our Brothers and Sisters
Open Your Bible
1 John 4:20-21, 1 John 5:1-13, Romans 13:8-14, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, John 1:29-34
BY Kaitie Stoddard
Recently, I received a text message from a friend asking about the Christian life. I read the text several times over with excitement, yes, but with anxiety too. Undoubtedly, it was an answer to over a decade of prayer, a small crack for the light to shine through. But the weight of this opportunity to share my faith in Jesus was also overwhelming.
I think the apostle John would understand both my passion and my pause. Every word he writes drips with longing for people to know the truth: that Jesus is the Son of God, the way to salvation. I long for my friend to know the truth too. But sharing the gospel is on a different level than convincing someone to reduce their gluten intake; it’s a matter of spiritual life and death.
Many churches utilize the personal testimonies of believers as a way to help others see the hand of the One they cannot see. We encourage each other with stories of how God has worked in our lives, how He’s freed us, and how we’ve come to know He is real.
I love testimonies, but sometimes I wrongly believe my own testimony needs to convince people of God rather than simply tell them about what He’s done in my life. I automatically begin thinking about what I should and shouldn’t say, strategizing in my own strength instead of relying on God’s power to help me. No wonder I feel anxious at the mere thought of sharing the gospel.
John rightly points us beyond his own testimony and on to God’s, which is far greater (1John 5:9). You and I aren’t the only ones testifying that Jesus is King; the Creator of the universe and everything He’s created declare the truth too (Psalm 19:1). God Himself declares the truth of Christ:
Through the Spirit, the water, and the blood (1John 5:7–8).
Through prophecies and power (Matthew 1:18–24).
Through the baptism of Christ Jesus (Matthew 3:16–17).
Through Christ’s perfect sacrificial death (Matthew 26:28).
“The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister,” in both word and deed (1John 4:21). When friends and family ask us where our hope comes from, we can let go of the pressure to find the perfect words or our need to convince them of the truth of the gospel of Christ. As God’s daughters, it is not just our testimony that matters. We are also bearing witness to God’s testimony—one that never fails. “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (John 5:11–12).
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Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
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