We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4, verse 6.
More proof in the pudding, right? Yes, but more than that. Where 1 John 3, verse 24 said, “the one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us,” today’s verse talks about how evidence of that Spirit is in seeing how people listen to Jesus’ Word. That’s a subtle difference but an important one. Verse 6 doesn’t contradict verse 24 but, instead, compliments it. One verse talks about living in Christ and Christ living in us, while today’s talks about that same idea affirmed in how we listen.
So here’s a timely example. Facebook; my wife and I were talking about this just this morning. Usually I’ll post a link to an article and put out a comment on it, or sometimes I’ll simply post the link and see what others say. I like the forum of a town hall, where people of all kinds of ways of thinking can rationally discuss important things, yet Facebook is no town hall. Sometimes it seems more like being on Jerry Springer’s show.
I’ve been posting articles all week about things happening in the world, and not surprisingly some of my friends have challenged my opinions. One of the things I’ve learned through all this – and something of which I need to be constantly reminded – is that having a different opinion doesn’t make someone right or wrong. Except for defending something illegal, I sometimes think that people who disagree with me are absolutely out of their minds; after all, the things I’m saying are common sense, right? What I too quickly forget is that they may think the exact same thing about me. We may each think the other is crazy but in reality we aren’t that different.
Somewhere, Jesus must be laughing at us. He must be shaking His head, thinking that we just don’t get it. He’s beyond these petty things. He gave us His word, His life, through the things He teaches in His Scriptures. That’s enough; we don’t need to add to it. Galatians 1 even says we must not. Our ideas of right and wrong, of debate or disagreement, totally miss Jesus’ point. His word, His love is all that matters. Left or right here are irrelevant, and both are loved by the Savior. How we live our lives from listening to His word matters more than debating some issue that, in the long run, will be forgotten in the white noise of history.
Lord, help me to listen to you more, to ignore the noise of other things, and to always submit instead of trying to get the last word.