Theme of the Week: Maximum Joy
Bible Verse: “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:5-8
Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:4-9
According to the Bible, the security of being loved leads to a recognition of our significance. When we are loved unconditionally, it helps us know that we matter to someone.
That’s why Romans spends its first eleven chapters trying to meet our need for security as the Holy Spirit assures us that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Then, in the last four chapters, the Holy Spirit moves on to our need for significance. He speaks of the unique giftedness of each person and their place of service in the Body of Christ. From security to significance; from love to admiration; from acceptance to approval.
Another word for love is the word intimacy. If you have a growing relationship with someone, you are becoming more and more intimate with them. However, there are blocks to developing intimacy with someone. One of those blocks to intimacy is selfishness.
Selfishness focuses on getting, not giving. Love, by definition, is giving, but the sin nature grabs and gets. People often confuse love and lust, but the main difference between the two is selfishness. Love asks, “How can I meet your needs?” whereas lust asks, “How can you meet mine?” The sin nature works against intimacy because it is selfish.
Fear is another block to intimacy. Fear is one of the greatest stumbling blocks to opening up. You can’t be intimate with someone if you don’t open up. You can’t be close to someone if you don’t share the things which are close to you. We are afraid to let the other person see what is deep down inside. We are afraid they won’t like what they see, and they will simply reject us. This fear of rejection keeps us from opening up and getting close.
However, the love of Christ has a centripetal force; that is, our Messiah is magnetic. He draws us closer and closer to Himself. This is the experience John had with Jesus, as did the rest of the disciples. This is the apostolic experience John wants to share with his readers. He wants them to enjoy an increasing intimacy with their Savior. (fellowship = koinonia = sharing)
God’s love letter in the 1st epistle of John, shows us how to have intimacy after the fall, and how we can have our most fundamental need for love met even though there is sin in the world, in the universe, and resident within us.
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