1 John 2:3-6
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
If you are over 40, you probably don’t know what it means to be “self-aware.” I had to look it up after a younger ministry colleague announced in the middle of a conversation that he was self-aware. Apparently, it has to do with your willingness to evaluate how your behavior, words and attitudes align with your values and life goals. Self-awareness includes understanding how other people perceive and respond to you. To some people, being self-aware also means acknowledging your biases, weaknesses and inherent privileges. In other words, when you look in the mirror, do you see yourself as you really are – good, bad, ugly and all. Being self-aware requires honesty and humility, which are good things, so long as we don’t start judging ourselves against the wrong standard.
John invites us to do a spiritual self-awareness assessment. Do you know for sure that you know Jesus? What is the true condition of your heart? People often ask me these sorts of questions. How do I know that I’m really a Christian? Do I have enough faith? How can I be sure that I am saved? We all wrestle with these questions and face moments of doubt. No one has perfect faith, not even John or the other Disciples, and that’s exactly why John wrote these words of exhortation and encouragement. You can know that you truly belong to Jesus if you desire to obey God’s word and to follow the example Jesus set for you. When you look in the mirror, you shouldn’t desire just to find an accurate reflection of yourself. Instead, you should hope to see an image of Jesus, a reflection, even if vague and faint, of the One you seek to follow.
That means speaking words of truth and love the way Jesus did. It means treating people with compassion, even those who treat you with contempt. It means submitting your desires to God’s will. It means turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, loving your enemies, carrying your cross and laying down your life for a friend. The more you “live as Jesus did,” the more you will like the reflection you see in the mirror, even if it doesn’t fit the world’s view of strength, beauty or success. Then again, remember with honest self-awareness, that you are not perfect and that you will often fall short of Jesus’ example. You and I are sinners who need the Savior, and it’s that knowledge plus the grace of God that assure us we belong to Christ.
Jesus, You are my example and my salvation. Forgive me for falling short of Your perfect standard. Help me to live the way You did in my words, actions and attitudes. I ask this in Your name and for Your glory. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian