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DEVOTED: 1 John 3:14–15

READ

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (1 John 3:14–15)

REFLECT

Do you know what a litmus test is? Simply, a litmus test is a chemistry experiment designed to show you if liquid contains acid. It is conducted by taking a strip of litmus paper and dipping it into the liquid to be tested. Based on the presence of acidity, blue litmus paper will turn red and red litmus paper will turn blue, or something like that. (Forgive my middle-aged memory of my eighth-grade chemistry lab.)

John gives us a litmus test on whether a person is a true believer in Jesus Christ:

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. (v. 14)

We can say we believe in God all day long and deceive ourselves. There is only one way to know. It is the litmus test for the presence of the life of God in our lives. Do we love each other? No one makes this clearer than John:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7–8)

Because John loves us, he is being brutally honest with us. He knows our propensity for self-deception is high. He wants us to wake up and smell the coffee. The litmus test of our relationship with God is our relationships with others.

This is not about having perfect relationships with everyone we know. It is about becoming gut-level honest with ourselves in the presence of God about the quality of the character of our love for others. Is our love becoming less self-interested and more others oriented? The answer to this question will tell us everything we need to know about the depth of our relationship with God and the maturity of our faith.

PRAY

Abba Father, I want to love like you love. I know that my love for others will never exceed my knowing of your love for me. I simply cannot love others as I love myself until my love for myself is founded in your love for me. Open my mind and heart to perceive this love. This will be my freedom and my generosity and my joy. Come, Holy Spirit, and stir this deeper awareness of the brokenness of my love that I might awaken to the wholeness of your love for me. You love me perfectly, unconditionally, and unfathomably. In Jesus’ name, amen.

CONFERENCE

Where is your love for others most tested at this moment? What does this tell you about your relationship with Jesus? What is a next step?