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One of the myths we believe in western culture is the importance of being independent. It is a poisonous untruth for us as followers of Jesus. If we are in Christ then not only are we dependent on him for everything, but we belong to him in a family relationship and to his body, the church. To be in relationship with God means belonging to a family through full dependence, just as a child is with his or her parents.
But sometimes in families falsehoods can crop up regarding what we believe. These lies, if they are given room to fester and grow, may seriously compromise our beliefs. This is exactly what is happening in John’s day. And rather than ignore the obvious, John spends quite a bit of time in his letter bringing attention to them. At the start of chapter 4 John revisits something he’s already raised earlier because it is really serious: false prophets and their lies.
There were various false beliefs circulating about Jesus. One claimed that Jesus really didn’t have a physical body at all but that he was only a spirit. Another asserted that during Jesus’ earthly life the spirit came on him, but that he wasn’t really the Messiah. Both assertions are false and John is determined not to let them gain ground. So he exposes them!
But he doesn’t just uncover them for the sake of denouncing them. He has a deeper purpose. John is pointing us back to our dependence on God. He reminds us that the Holy Spirit is the One who will show us the truth as we rely on and listen to him (vv 4,6).
Do you know of someone who believes false ideas about the divinity and humanity of Jesus? In love, following the example in John’s letter, how can you respond to them?
Holy Spirit, thank you that you are more powerful than the enemies of your truth. I offer myself to you today, depending on you to show me your truth in all circumstances. Empower me with your love to speak your truth to someone who needs to know you as you really are. Amen.