I think I managed to underline just about 1/2 of the book of 1 John this morning. Right now I'm reading a book called The Hole in Our Gospel (fabulous, by the way) by Richard Sterns, the president of World Vision. A few of the verses that he highlighted in the chapter I read last night came from 1 John. So this morning, I hopped off the several-year-long road I've been taking to read through the Bible "in one year" :). 1 John is an excellent book, and if you have not read the whole thing through, do it. It's basically a call to love, and a call away from darkness and into God's light, of which He is Himself, so in other words, a call to and into God. Much like the rest of the Bible. "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." (2:3-6) Wow. Quite the command. Scary to think that this is the call and the responsibility of Christians everywhere. But at the same time, it's oddly humbling. "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."
"The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." (3:8-9) "God's seed remains in him," and because of this humbling picture of God planting in us his call to love, we cannot go on sinning. And because we are to walk as Jesus did, if in fact we claim to live in him, we are to also destroy the devil's work. "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. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our heats at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything... And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." (3:16-23) And if the devil's work is, in fact, the pain of the hurting, the distress of the weak, and the poverty of the hopeless, then are we not called to destroy the devil's work, to live in God, and to act in love, as Jesus did? And to go on doing this without sinning. In any area of our lives.
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." (5:14-15)