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GUARD YOURSELF

1 JOHN 3:7

“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;”

When I was in Jr. High and High school, I played football (American football). I always loved the game. But there was one drill I didn’t care too much for. It was called “Bull in the Woods.” Let me explain it. One person would be put in the center of a ring of other players who were numbered off. The coach would then call a number and the player with that number would run toward the guy in the center and hit him. So, your job in the middle was turn and face that player and take on the hit.

The problem began when the coach would call multiple numbers, especially if they were from opposite sides of the circle. It became impossible to face every attack. They would eventually wear you down. That’s exactly what Satan does. He keeps coming at you from all directions. John is saying in today’s verse to be watchful for those attacks. Remember Jesus has your back.

APPLICATION

You can play this out with your kids. Try this twist on it. Get some pool noodles or something soft and get around one of your children. Blindfold them so they can’t see you. Give them a pool noodle to defend themselves and give everyone else one as well.  Then let the fun begin. Now, keep it safe. No head shots and no jabbing with the noodle. If someone starts hitting too hard, stop the game.

Explain to them after everyone has had a turn how Satan does the same to us. Unless we keep our eyes on Jesus and our minds focused on His Word, we are just as defenseless as they were in the game. Ask them how it felt not seeing where the next “strike” might come from. It can be scary. But praise be to God, we have no reason to fear. Jesus is the one who guards and protects us. We just have to surrender.

Are you tired of swinging your pool noodle at an invisible foe? Stop swinging and start living under Jesus. Let Him be the one who defends you. He is more than capable. We think we can handle it, but we can’t. Satan is too crafty. He can outfox any of us by ourself. But he is no match for Jesus.

Lord, I trust You in my battles. I will stand with You and trust You to defend me.

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SINLESS?

1 JOHN 3:6

“No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.”

Have you ever known anyone who didn’t make a mistake? You’ve never heard them say, I’m sorry. You’ve never seen them ask anyone for forgiveness. In fact, if you ask them, they would tell you that they are always right. Now, we know that’s not possible. We all make mistakes, sooner or later. No one is perfect.

If you read this verse without digging deeper, you might think John is saying you can’t ever sin again. If you do, it means you’re not a believer. No! That is not what John is saying. The word “sins” is in the Present tense. That means it’s an ongoing lifestyle. You make a habit of sinning. And the words “seen” and “knows” are in the Perfect tense which means it happened in the past with lasting results. Seeing Him and knowing Him changes you forever. You no longer desire those sinful behaviors.

APPLICATION

How do you teach this concept to children? Well, just ask your kids if they have ever messed up. Ask them if they have ever been disobedient to you. Explain to them that just because they disobey you, they doesn’t mean they are not your child. Nothing can change that. Their birth into your family (Perfect tense) has lasting results – they are forever in your family.

But how about that “sin” thing? Well, John said in the verse that if you “abide” in Jesus you would not sin, you would not practice sin, you would not make sin your lifestyle. I tell the kids I teach that before we are saved, we chase sin. After we are saved, sin chases us.

What are you practicing – sinful living or godly living? That will pretty much determine whose family you are in. Satan loves to keep us in his family. He will even let us think we are in God’s family. He doesn’t care if we claim to be a believer as long as we don’t live like it. Ask yourself who you are bringing glory to – Jesus or the devil.

I want to walk in holiness with You, Jesus. Order my steps so that I always bring You glory.

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THE ERASER

1 JOHN 3:5

“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.”

There was nothing better than a good eraser when I was in grade school. In fact, my mom used to buy us extra erasers. We loved the kind that went on the end of your pencil. You were really cool if you had some kind of cartoon figure eraser. But we also had those big, pink rectangle-shaped erasers. Those could last a long time. Erasers were essential when I was in school.

Jesus is our sin eraser. Because He knew no sin, only He was qualified to be that sin eraser. One definition of the Greek word for “take away” is to sail away. I like that. Our sins simply sail away. They have weighed anchor. They are no longer here. Jesus makes them vanish. How great is that?

APPLICATION

Get your kids to try out some different erasers with different writing instruments. Start out with a sharpie. Have them try to erase it. Then try an ink pen. Finally, give them a pencil. Some marks we make cannot be erased with a plain eraser. They are pretty much permanent.

Ask your children how they erase their own mistakes, their own sins. They may say they ask someone to forgive them. They may say they promise to never do that again. Those are like the sharpie and pen marks. Our efforts to erase our sins just don’t work. Only through Jesus can we get the forgiveness we need. Teach your kids to confess their sins daily. A clean slate is always good.

Does your slate need cleaning? Go the One who can erase all your mistakes. He can forgive you and give you the cleansing you need. All you have to do is confess. That may be a little painful, but it is the only way. Make it right with Him and experience the joy of walking in forgiveness.

Lord, I need Your eraser in my life. I confess to You today the ways I have fallen short. Cleanse me now.

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IF A EQUALS B

1 JOHN 3:4

“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”

Okay, let’s be honest. Who likes Geometry? Can I see a show of hands? Lol. I am sure there is someone out there who does, just not me. I mean, it wasn’t the course itself. I just didn’t see the need to memorize all those formulas. If A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C. Right?

John isn’t exactly writing a Geometry problem here, but it’s close. If we live a lifestyle of sin, he says we also live a lifestyle of lawlessness. So, sin is lawlessness. Close your books and go home. There it is. John is warning us about our choices and the ramifications of it. Sin is a disregard for God’s laws, plain and simple.

APPLICATION

When your children disobey you, they don’t realize (most of the time) that they are disregarding your authority. They just want to do what they want to do. But the truth is they are stating by their actions that they don’t care what you say. Your rules don’t matter to them.

The next time you have to discipline your child for something talk about how this reflects on their spiritual life. Listen, before you accuse me of spiritualizing everything, everything is spiritual. We are in a constant battle every day of the flesh against the spirit. Just because our children are too young to understand that doesn’t make it not true. Point them to His Word.

Do you realize your choices you make every day are a reflection of your belief in God? We trust or we don’t. We believe or we don’t. We follow or we don’t. Every choice we make is at some level a spiritual choice. It’s a reflection of who we are in Christ. As you make your choices today, stop and ask yourself how God can be glorified in the process.

I choose You, Lord. I want to honor You with the choices I make today.

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WHAT HOPE?

1 JOHN 3:3

“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Well, last night I went to bed with my team, the Atlanta Braves, leading in the fifth inning in game seven of the National League Championship. I tried to stay up but was just too tired. I went to bed with a hope they would hold on to win and go to the World Series. Guess what? That didn’t happen. The Dodgers came back to win, sending Atlanta home.

If you read this verse by itself, you have to ask yourself, “What hope?” That hope is not my hope in the Braves (thank goodness). You need to go back and read verses 1 and 2 of chapter 3. That hope is solely in Christ. John tells us if our hope is in Him then we should live in such a way to honor Him. We should purify ourselves by putting anything out of lives that dishonors Him.

APPLICATION

Don’t you just love bath time with the kids? Really? You don’t? It can be a challenge, especially when they get a little older. Little boys love to play outside and do not necessarily like to wash that outside off once they come in. The smells of where they have been and what they have been doing are all over them.

The next time you are discussing bath time with the kiddos, read them this verse. I know what you are thinking, but hear me out. Explain to them that just as the physical world can affect how we smell, the spiritual world can affect how we live. We have to keep ourselves cleaned up spiritually through confession and righteous living to remove the stench of sin. You may not can smell that sin, but you can sure see the results of it in your life.

How pure are you today? Jesus wants you to walk before Him purified and reflecting Him. He is not honored by our wallowing in sin and professing to be a believer. He, in fact, demands pure living. Will you confess whatever it is you need to confess today? Let Him cleanse you and help you walk in purity.

Thank You for Your cleansing power in my life. Thank You for convicting me of the impurities I carry along with me. I want to walk representing You.

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JUST LIKE HIM

1 JOHN 3:2

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”

Don’t you love it when your children put on your shoes or clothes and pretend to be you? It is so cute. In those days they totally admire you. They want to be just like you. You probably have pictures somewhere of them doing that. Precious memories.

Listen – we should be doing the same thing as it relates to God. We should be trying every day to be just like Him. John is telling us in this verse that our ability to do that depends on our vision of Him. Huh? Yes, we shall see Him one day fully, but we can see Him daily now. His Word shows us how to live. His Word directs our thoughts and actions.

APPLICATION

Break out some of those pictures of your kids I mentioned earlier. Or even better, find some of you doing the same thing. Your kids will get a kick out of that. If you have young children, do it now. Play dress up. Let them put on your shoes and clothes. Then read them this verse and talk about what we just discussed.

Explain to your kids the importance of walking in God’s shoes. Unlike yours, His will fit. He molds them especially for your journey. Unlike your pants or dress, His clothes will fit you just right. He doesn’t want you tripping or falling. He desires each of your steps to be unobstructed.

Are you struggling to be like Him? Maybe you are trying too hard. Stop trying to figure out how to be like Him and let Him be Himself through you. That is a lot easier. He knows how to be God. You don’t. But guess what – the more you do this, the more you look like Him.

Father, make me to look just like You. I want others to see Jesus in me – not me.

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HOW GREAT A LOVE

1 JOHN 3:1


“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”

How much do you love your children or grandchildren? Can you put it in words? I have two children and four grandchildren, and I can’t find the words to adequately describe my love for them. I have often joked that if I had known how great grandchildren were, I would have had them first. Lol

John can’t find the words to express God’s love for us. In fact, the Greek word for “how great” is used in Matthew 8:27 when Jesus stilled the wind and waves when He was in the boat with His disciples. Remember that story? The disciples were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this…?” “What kind” is the same word used here. They couldn’t figure Him out. Neither can we concerning His love for us.

APPLICATION

Now, here’s a hard one. The next time you are with your children or grandchildren, take them up in your arms and hug them tightly and say, “I can’t tell you how much I love you.” I know – that’s too hard, right?  Lol. I am sure you can muster through it.

And then read them this verse. Explain to them that as much as you love them (so much you can’t put it into words), God loves them so much more. He calls us His children. That should mean something. He invites us into His family, His kingdom, His heaven. Wow! That’s a lot of love.

If God loves us that much, how should we respond? Simple – we should love Him back. We should behave like His children. We should be telling everyone about His love. We should be sharing His love. And when someone shuns us, love them anyway. It won’t be easy, be love them. That will please your Heavenly Father.

I love You, Father, because You first loved me. I can never love You enough to repay You for all You have done in me. Help me be a more loving person to others.

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THE PROOF’S IN THE PUDDING

1 JOHN 2:29

“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

What do I mean by that title? It comes from a very old proverb. I’ve read that the original version is “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” It means you have to try out the food in order to know whether it is good. I agree with that. Something may look good, but how does it taste. Have you ever experienced that?

John knew that not everyone who said they were a Christian really were. They had to show it. They had to live righteously. That’s what he means when he says, “practices righteousness.” The Greek word for “practices” means to do, to live it. And when you do that, you show you are born again.

APPLICATION

Don’t you just hate it when you ask your children to do a chore, they promise they will do it, and then they don’t? When they say they will, you expect it, right? The next time they let their chores slide after promising to do them, take them to this verse. Let me explain.

God has expectations of us when we become His child, just like you do of your child. He expects righteous living. If we say we are His, we need to live like it. Remind your children that part of living righteously before God is obeying their parents. After all, you have to do the same thing. You have to obey your Father.

How are you living righteously? Do you find it difficult? You don’t need to struggle. Let Jesus live through you. He IS righteousness. Righteousness is not something you do. It’s who you are in Christ. He has made you righteous. Live like it.

I am righteous because of You, O Lord. Thank You for living through me.

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ASHAMED

1 JOHN 2:28

“Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”

Have you ever been caught red-handed doing something you knew was wrong? Don’t answer that, lol. Well, I have. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say I will never forget it. My dad caught me one night up town doing some stuff I shouldn’t have been doing. He was not a happy camper, to say the least. And it wasn’t just that I was in trouble. I could see the disappointment on his face.

That’s what John is talking about in today’s verse. We need to stay close to Christ daily and walk with Him. So, when He appears (and it could be any day), we aren’t caught off guard and feel ashamed at what He finds us doing. That doesn’t mean we have to be in a perpetual kneeling position with our hands folded in prayer. But we should be about His business.

APPLICATION

Okay, you are going to catch your children doing stuff. Our granddaughter was caught recently coloring on the walls downstairs. She thought her masterpiece was so beautiful until she found out that was a no-no. I am not sure she felt ashamed, but she soon realized this was not acceptable. Your children are going to do stuff and get caught, too.

That is a perfect time to read them this verse. Unlike you, God sees all. There is nowhere they can hide to do things He won’t know about. This is especially important as they get older and spend more and more time out of your sight. They need to know God is aware. He is not waiting to zap them, but He is watching. We want them to please Him in their actions and decisions.

What are you sneaking around doing right now? Anything? Don’t be doing those things. Stop it. You are not fooling God. He knows. He wants you to walk hand in hand with Him all the time. If you are doing that, there is no room for mischief. Right?

I want to honor You, Lord, in all my steps. Help me make the decisions daily that bring You glory. Forgive me when I fail You.

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KNOW IT ALL

1 JOHN 2:27

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

Have you ever known someone who knew everything about everything? You couldn’t tell a story without them butting in and finishing it or trying to top it. Name any subject and they would have an opinion. You really couldn’t tell them anything. Those kinds of people are kind of annoying, aren’t they?

You could read this verse and think John is telling us to be like that. You may even think he is shunning education and teachers. I mean, at first glance it appears that way. He actually says, “you have no need for anyone to teach you.” But John is warning us to be careful of who we let influence us. Everything must be in agreement with what the Spirit tells us according to the Word of God.

APPLICATION

This is never more true than today. Our children are constantly being told how naïve and even ignorant they are if they believe in the creation story. After all, science teaches that evolution is reality, right? But what does God’s Word say? Does evolution match up to Genesis 1-3? No, it doesn’t.

Other examples of teachings that go contrary to the teachings of God are abortion and the redefinition of marriage. We have to keep pointing our children to the only true source of knowledge. Only God’s Word gives the wisdom needed to guide us through life. Only God’s Word will always point us in the right direction. There is no other truth.

Let me encourage you today to reexamine your knowledge base. Whom or what do you trust for truth? We have seen in just the past few months the vacillation of scientist on the covid-19 causes and treatments. What one holds as truth, another says is not true. Aren’t you glad that we know THE Truth – Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?

Father, thank You for sending Your Spirit to be my teacher. I thank You also for sending others into my life to mentor and direct me.

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