Day Five – Assurance

Romans 8:16 NIV
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

1 John 3:14a, 23-24 NIV
14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other… 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 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.

N.T. Wright points out that we “wouldn’t even be experiencing this inner condemnation unless there was the work of God’s Spirit (v.24), stirring us up to glimpse the life of love, even if that glimpse shows us how far we have fallen short.” We know that we are his children by the Spirit that lives in us. (Wright, N.T., The Letters of John, 2012)

Prayer:  Lord, we praise you for this wonderful assurance of salvation that is not based on how we feel but upon the Spirit who lives inside of us, marking us as children of God.  With confidence, we pray for our churches to display Christ’s sacrificial love for one another through the power of the Spirit that enables us to love like him.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “By the grace of God” by Bethel (click here).

– MR


Day Four – Greater

1 John 3:19-20 NIV
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

“God’s greatness is relevant to the state of the human heart. ‘God is greater than our hearts’ for John, not in the sense that he so transcends them that there is no personal point of contact… but in the sense that precisely as the exalted Lord, he ministers comfort to the individual… Doubtless numerous reasons could be given for John’s optimism that God is the place to turn when the heart is pricked with guilt, but John underscores just one in 3:20: God ‘knows all things’… is to remind readers that in coming before God, they approach one who knows everything about all hearts … yet is still able to forgive. He knows human folly and guilt…, disgrace and shame…, even thoughts and words before they are spoken. Yet at the right hand of this God is Christ the advocate.” (Yarbrough, 1-3 John, BECNT, 211)

Prayer:  Lord, we proclaim, “God is greater than our hearts!” As we face discouragements, may we receive the assurance that God is at work within us through the Spirit, empowering us to love sacrificially. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “Your Love Defends Me” by Matt Maher (click here).

– MR


Day Three – The source

1 John 3:16-18 NIV
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

“Love does not destroy another’s life, whether in thought or deed. Love gives its own life so that another may live. ‘Jesus Christ laid down his life for us’ demonstrates God’s definition of love. It is not mere sentiment or emotion, not simply words, but deeds. And the deeds are not empty gestures; they actively transform the situation…  It is a love that gives without counting the cost, without any thought of return, without first weighing up whether or not such love is deserved – a love that is entirely without self-interest… And that love is the mark of a faith that is real.” (Jackman, The Message of John’s Letters, BST, 100)

Prayer:   Lord, thank you for giving your life so that we may live. As we experience the divine love of God, may we be empowered to love sacrificially. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “At the Cross” by Chris Tomlin (click here).

– MR


Day Two – Transformed

1 John 3:11 NIV
11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

“The content of the message John’s readers have heard from the beginning is that ‘we should love one another’ (3:11: agapōmen allēlous). The act of loving here is expressed in the present tense, which means this will be our habit. We do not love today and withhold love tomorrow. We must love all the time.” (Ngewa, The Epistles of John: Their Message and Relevance for Today, 56)

At the heart of this command to love is the transformative truth that “a person cannot come into a real relationship with [the] loving God without being transformed into a loving person” (Marshall, The Epistles of John, NICNT, 212)

This is what God is doing in our lives each time we encounter him. We are being transformed into loving people who reflect him.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for inviting us into your presence to experience your love. As transformed people, help us to remain in you and reflect you today in our homes, workplaces, schools, and in all that we do. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “More Like Jesus” by Kristian Stanfill, (click here)

– MR


Day One – People of God

Let’s read and pray aloud the following together:

John 13:34-35 NIV
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The Cape Town Commitment – “We love the people of God”
The people of God are those from all ages and all nations whom God in Christ has loved, chosen, called, saved and sanctified as a people for his own possession, to share in the glory of Christ as citizens of the new creation. As those, then, whom God has loved… we are commanded to love one another. For “since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another,” and thereby “be imitators of God…and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” Love for one another in the family of God is not merely a desirable option but an inescapable command. Such love is the first evidence of obedience to the gospel, the necessary expression of our submission to Christ’s Lordship, and a potent engine of world mission.

Prayer: Father, we thank you for making us your children and richly and abundantly loving us. Lord, help us to live a life of love by loving one another as you have loved us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

– MR