We tend to look at people physically and make judgments based upon appearance. The Lord tells us specifically not to do this. But most Christians do it anyway. These quick little glances prove wrong most of the time. We question:
- What type of church do they attend?
- What version of the Bible do they own?
- Do they read it daily?
- Do they keep a modest appearance?
- What kind of sites and tv programs do they surf?
- Are they spirit filled?
- Have they had greater experiences than me?
- What is their gifting?
- Are they more gifted than me?
- The list goes on and it is endless.
Trying to discern a brother or sister in this fashion will not give you any relevant information. It will only tell you how YOU RANK THEM SPIRITUALLY.
John says don’t engage in testing others, but test your own level of obedience and whether or not your spiritual walk is pleasing to God.
3 We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: 6 Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did. (I John 2:3-6)
The way we can be sure we’ve come to know God is by obeying God’s commands. This word “obey” is a very interesting word, because its focus is on doing something over and over again. One Bible teacher has called it, “daily, detailed, and disciplined obedience” to God.
The Lord is faithful to share what He commands us to perform. He does this so that we might obey His word. He doesn’t want to keep explaining to us the same things over and over again. So the Lord teaches us what is commanded, until we know, understand, and implement them. Commands never change.
John tells us that if someone claims to have an intimate knowledge of God yet lives a lifestyle characterized by disobedience to God’s commands, that person is doing a snow job on themselves and others.
A lifestyle characterized by obedience to God’s commands demonstrates that God’s love has had its proper effect on us. This is what John means in v. 5 when he says, “If anyone obeys God’s word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.” The word translated “made complete” means to accomplish its purpose. Have the commands of the Lord accomplished their purpose in you?
You might say that an antibiotic is made complete in a person when that antibiotic kills off the infection it was given to treat. Have you ever stopped taking an antibiotic because you felt better? You didn’t finish the prescription and the infection soon returned? What happened? The medicine did not fully accomplish its purpose.
In a similar way, the reason God gives us His love isn’t just to forgive our sins, make us feel good, or to heal our hurts, but it’s ultimately to lead us to obedient lives. When a person receives Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, the Bible says that God pours out His love into that person’s heart through the Holy Spirit. Yet that love doesn’t achieve its purpose–it isn’t made complete–until that person is living a life of obedience to God’s commands.
Be encouraged today because the Lord has given you His commands to obey for the rest of your life. Learn to love those commands and allow them to make you complete in Him in every way. The Lord knows what is best!