Day 9

Loving Our Brothers and Sisters

from the 1, 2 & 3 John reading plan

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).

Post Comments (64)

64 thoughts on "Loving Our Brothers and Sisters"

  1. Mary Plybon says:

    This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1John 5:4 is so special to me. One year into my marriage my husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The doctors told us to freeze sperm before his operation and treatment but my husband refused. He said we would have faith and give God control. Six years later we were ready for a family but unsure if we could conceive. God knew His plans for us and he gave us victory in the form of a girl we named Victoria. And later He blessed us with a boy. I am so glad that God taught us to trust Him in this season. Today I’m patiently waiting for my first grandchild due in April. Through it all God is good and He is faithful.

  2. Ashley McDonald says:

    God is SO good!! I am so beyond thankful! Theses verses were exactly what I needed to be reminded of today!

  3. Tara Beatty says:

    I find it so easy to love most people. Almost everyone I encounter. But the most difficult one to love most days is my husband. I love him and do what wives do. I pray for him and encourage him. But he is the one person in my life that rejects me. I never do things right for him. My “service” to others is frowned upon by him. I don’t discipline right. I don’t clean right. I don’t love him right. So, I keep trying. I have prayed for so long. It just saddens me that the one person whom I should have cheering for me in life, is the one who doesn’t. He was saved as a child. And has been in church all his life. Yet, he does not walk with God. He is whom I am called to love, even if I don’t feel loved back. There are days where he loves better, but so many days are critical. I just ask for prayer. For him, for me and for my 3 kids who see this kind of love in our home. It saddens my heart. I press on. God will take care of us all.

    1. Grace Wilder says:

      Sorry to hear this Tara! Praying that God will sustain you and your family and that he will soften and convict your husbands heart. Xx

  4. Casey Lewis says:

    This section on love has been very convicting in my current circumstances. It is a wonderful feeling to be convicted and truly repent and have victory and freedom over sin!!!

  5. Lesia DeJesus says:

    Hi Everyone, I am new to this community of believers. Excluding the last 3 months, inwardly I have been away from God for a long time, but now I have come home. I want to really commit my life to God, but I find that I don’t really know what really committing your life to the Lord looks like. Please pray for me that God will show me what a life committed to him looks like.

    1. Shea Lasiter says:

      Hi Lesia! Welcome! Praying for you.

    2. Amanda Starnes says:

      The Bible talks about “counting the cost”, “putting your hand to the plow and bot looking back”, building yourself up in your most Holy Faith but give Glory to God he gives us the desire to do His good and perfect will. I prayed in a sacred moment that a God would lead and guide me the rest of my life and waited, through every objection of the flesh as the were answered by the Voice of Truth and the peace of God. There was still some inner turmoil that needed to be worked out. God gave me a hunger and thirsty for his Word, godly friends, and lead me to a Bible believing, Spirit filled church. One at a time I began to let my family and friends know about my decision to follow Christ and my new direction in life. This is what committing my life initially looks like. I still need to recommit myself from time to time as the cares of the world weigh me down.

    3. Cynthia Johnston says:

      Welcome to the sisterhood, Lesia! Praying for the Lord to bring a mature Christian woman into your life to mentor you. We all need each other to point each other to Jesus. ♥️

    4. Stephanie Zimmer says:

      Praying for you! ❤️

    5. Terri McCafferty says:

      Praying for you

  6. Rian says:

    Hi Margaret! I just wanted to say that I was never an atheist, I still believed in God, but had a terrible church experience and it drove me to reject all forms of organized religion from ages 15-30. My poor family probably also never thought I’d find my way back, but I did! Or rather, God found me and brought me back as he does with all of his lost sheep. I’m now 38 years-old, and my faith is the strongest it’s ever been. God works in mysterious ways, and it’s all according to his perfect timing. The catalyst to bring me back was this: My sister lent me her book, The Reason for God by Timothy Keller. That book sat on my nightstand for over 2 years. I was going through a painful breakup at the time (from a man who I never would have been able to find my way back to Christianity if we stayed together), and I felt a little urge to open that book. So I did, and the rest is history. That book is amazing for people with scientific, logical minds. It answers most of the big questions of faith in a systematic, logical, historically based manner. That was what God used to bring me back. I hope this helps you!

  7. Margaret Terry says:

    My brother was very involved in his church many years ago and was baptized, but the. His wife left him and he turned away from God. He has been a very vocal atheist ever since even though the rest of our family have been devoted Christ followers. I have shared my own testimony with him but it didn’t seem to connect with him. I have invited him to church many times but he always says no. I keep feeling like I am not doing what is needed to bring him back to God but this devotional helped me see, it’s not by my doing but by the Spirit that is will happen if it does. Of course we need to keep trying and praying but it is not within in our power to make it happen. It’s hard sometimes to leave it there, but in His mighty love He always pursues us, and them! Keep hope, keep praying and keep trusting in Gods perfect love.

    1. Nancy Tuggle says:

      Praying the Lord grabs hold of your brother & brings him back. Love these verses: “”For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
      I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak…
      ‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭34:11-12, 16‬a ESV‬‬

  8. Avis DeniseGraves says:

    Faith is the victory!

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