Every year, at the beginning, I want to have an inner change in my heart. I want to change hate for love, light for darkness; and to have Christ instead of anti-Christ. I usually fast the first weeks of a new year because I want to experience inner change. I want to go without food to gain something else: more prayer and a greater focus on God.
You know how it can be a beautiful day and then, all of a sudden, a major storm comes? After the storm passes, it’s a beautiful day again, like it never happened. I am from Houston, Texas; we have hurricanes throughout the year, so I am familiar with storms.
In the Scriptures, John takes us on a ride that is kind of like a storm. It is a word picture of pretty days and hurricanes. He encourages us to love one another. That’s easy enough, right? But then he says not to be like Cain (from the book of Genesis) who was evil and murdered his brother Abel. This is not the brotherly “love” we should have for one another. Instead, John says that we should be able to lay our lives down for our brothers and sisters. He points us to Christ, who laid His life for you and me, and showed us what love really is.
In 1967, The Beatles came out with a hit song titled, “All You Need Is Love.” John is saying the same thing in chapter 3. Love is what everyone needs. Get along with your spouse. Love those in the "other" political party. Treat your co-workers and employees with respect. It should be easy, yet something in us goes, “not so fast.” We are like Cain and need an inner change of heart.
Loving is harder than you think. Singing the song is the easy part. Reading 1 John 3 is the easy part. Actually loving others is not quite that easy. It is not automatic. Maybe you are struggling to love your own spouse or a family member right now. All you need is love. All they need is love. Through Christ’s love, you can experience inner change in your heart.