Distinguishing Believer from Unbeliever: What or Whom One Loves
- 1 John Study Continued
By Pastor Geoff Kragen
What does John identify as the basis of the distinction between the believer and unbeliever? It is who or what one loves. If we love God, we will live in a way that pleases Him. If we love the world, our walk will be motivated by what gives us pleasure, or power, or some sense of fulfillment, separate from the true fulfillment, relationship with God.
The world, the flesh and the Devil are constantly striving to drag us away from our first love of God. We are not always even aware of this. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us step back and see where something other than the Lord is becoming the prime motivator for our behavior. We need to examine the attitudes and activities in our lives, in light of the need for them to honor the Lord.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Our motivation for our choices must be to please the Lord. If our concern is to appear to be a believer according to other peoples standards, our walk is selfishly motivated, because our primary concern becomes pleasing men, not God.
"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10).
So, let us step back from our lives. Let us be willing to examine our choice in light of the desire to please God. And where we find we have love the world too well, let us repent and return to our first love. Let us pray with the psalmist:
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).
Search me, O God, and know my heart today; Lord, take my life and make it wholly thine;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray. Fill my poor heart with thy great love divine.
See if there be some wicked way in me; Take all my will, my passion, self, and pride;
Cleanse me from ev'ry sin and set me free. I now surrender; Lord, in me abide.
I praise thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin; O Holy Spirit, revival comes from thee;
Fulfill thy Word and make me pure within. Send a revival, start the work in me.
Fill me with fire where once I burned with shame; Thy Word declares thou wilt supply our need;
Grant my desire to magnify thy name. For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.
2 Orr, J. Edwin, Psalm 139:23, Public Domain