walk in the word
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. —1 John 1:1-4
Here’s the third mark of an authentic Christian in a sentence: I must have it to share it. In his first letter, John can hardly wait to share what he’s got. He received it and knows he must pass it on.
What is John talking about? Here it is: There is no greater joy in the Christian life than leading someone to Christ! I mean it’s the absolute mountaintop; the cherry on the sundae, the Suma Cum Laude for the follower of Christ.
The moment of our own surrender and discovery of the grace of God in Christ is definitely life and eternity changing, but being—by God’s grace—part of another person’s encounter with Christ brings the experience full circle. Or, as John puts it, “completed joy.” To have your mouth opened in testimony and to have someone else find Christ through your witness—I’m just telling you—there’s nothing like it. You’re at the max now! Such joy!
John says, “We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” “We’re trying to get this message into other people’s lives.”
Now why don’t more Christians share their faith? People mention lack of training, lack of opportunities (even though there are so many—last time I checked—that need the Lord), and fear of rejection as reasons for not sharing their faith. But let me tell you the real reason: because you must have it to share it. You’re not going to give anything to anybody until you are filled up with what Christ has done for you. You’re not going to talk about Jesus Christ until you are a satisfied customer! “It is awesome what He has done in my life! Where would I be without Him?!” Then you’ll be like the apostles who said in Acts 4:20, “How can we not speak of the things which we have seen and heard?” That’s what John is doing here.
In I John 1:3-4, John tells us if we had a better thing with God, we would have a better thing with each other. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Living authentically. You have to have it to share it.
Prayer-Father, forgive me for not praying each day for open eyes and an open heart, ready to offer to others what You so freely offered to me. Forgive me for letting the details and distractions of life keep me from letting others know why I live the way I do, and giving them a reason for the hope I have. I pray today for an unexpected open door that You create in someone’s life. Open my mouth, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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