Contemplations #6 (1 John: part 6 of 9)
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us”(1 John 4:1–12).
questions to contemplate:
(1) truth: how do you know whether or not someone is telling the truth? how are you personally affected if someone isn’t honest with you? some people claim to speak/act on behalf of God, but how does one know for sure whether they do (or not)?
(2) from God: what does it mean for someone to be “from God” (as opposed to “from the world”)? would you consider yourself to be “from God” or not? is being “from God” something that we recognize in ourselves or something that others recognize in us (or both)?
(3) love: how do you personally define “love” + does it match the definition given in this passage? what helpful principles could we take + apply from this text to our relationships with others?
quote to consider:
“Feelings accompany the metaphysical and metapsychical fact of love, but they do not constitute it; and the feelings that accompany it can be very different. Jesus’ feeling for the possessed man is different from his feeling for the beloved disciple; but the love is one. Feelings one ‘has’; love occurs”(Martin Buber).