This is the first in a series of posts about 1 John. It is a book/letter that Christ has used to give me much joy and peace over the past month.
The Apostle John is known as the “disciple Jesus loved.” He also is one half of the “sons of thunder.” I love that Jesus gave John and James this nickname. Jesus gave new name to many disciples. Levi became Matthew (gift from God), Simon became Peter (rock), and James and John were the sons of thunder. There is power behind a name, and Jesus empowered His disciples with each new name given.
John starts his letter simply starting that he was a witness to the word becoming flesh. He had authority to write what he does because he was with Jesus. He understands that the mission isn’t complete, and that his joy comes from fulfilling Christ’s commission. It’s not a mission that is done alone, either. John is writing in the context of community: And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:4
John moves on to explain what living in community with God and each other looks like. He hearkens back to what he wrote in his Gospel, Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John wrote that we must walk in the light. We must be honest with ourselves about who we are and our great need.
John puts it plainly that there is no one who is sinless besides Jesus. This is where the rubber meets the road. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 8-9
It is impossible to maintain a sustainable relationship and live in hiding. That is called image management. Many of us are guilty of this, and sometimes we might not even know it. There is absolutely no freedom in this, and it is down right tiring. No one really knows you for who you are, and you become enslaved to an image of yourself that isn’t even true.
The prescription to fix this problem is simple, but can be scary for someone stuck in image management. Confess. As soon as we confess to God and to one another, the hiding stops. We can truly be loved for who we are and not an image that we created.
Confess, and be loved.