The One Thing I Must Do (A Prayer)

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This month, Alameda’s elders and ministers are reading the New Testament letter of 1 John.  In this letter, the apostle John is responding to a situation that is causing some Christians to leave the church and their faith in Christ.  But John’s response is not an angry one; rather, it is encouraging and loving.  The ESV Study Bible describes John’s tone like this:

“His [John’s] aim is redemptive, not reactionary.  He urges readers to refine their theological understanding, sharpen their ethical rigor, and heighten their devotional intensity.  That is, they must grow in faith, obedience, and love.  Yet the letter is not a list of dos and don’ts.  It is rather a manifesto of ‘Done!’ – Jesus’ words ‘it is finished’ (John 19:30) come to mind.  First John highlights what God the Father has ‘done’ in sending Christ the Son, offering him up as a sacrifice for sins, and sending forth ‘the word of life’ (1 John 1:1) that is causing the world’s darkness to pass away and the true light of the coming age to shine (2:8).  God’s action becomes the mandate of those who believe in his Son.  ‘Whoever does the will of God abides forever’ (2:17).  God’s will is for readers to receive the saving message of Christ’s coming, rejoice in the commands of Christ’s teaching, and revel in the love of the Father as it continually translates into Christian love for one another and ministry to the world.  This is ‘not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth’ (3:18).”

John pushes us toward love, as defined and exemplified by God.  One place where this is seen most clearly is in 1 John 4:7-21, which I encourage you to read and ponder.

Here’s a prayer based on that passage…

My heavenly Father,

It is not enough for me to talk about love, 

I must love.

It is not enough for me to tell others they must love, 

I must love.

It is not enough for me to preach “God is love,”

I must love.

It is not enough for me to post verses about love on Facebook,

I must love.

It is not enough for me to bask in Your love,

I must love.

It is not enough for me to say to others, “I love you,”

I must love.

It is not enough for me wish that the world was filled with more love,

I must love.

It is not enough for me plan loving things to do for others, 

I must love.

It is not enough for me to pray about love,

I must love.

I must love others the way you love me.

This is the one thing I must do.

This is where belief in you leads.

This is what it means to follow Christ.

Love.

I must love.

“Whoever loves God must also love…” (1 John 4:21).

Help me, Lord, to love.

Amen.

Published by: rustytugman

I am a husband, father, and preacher. I have the great privilege of serving a wonderful church family at the Alameda Church of Christ in Norman, OK. I have graduate degrees in ministry and administrative leadership and I also run the occasional marathon. This blog provides a platform to share some thoughts about Scripture, church, ministry, leadership, current events, books I'm reading, and baseball. Thanks for joining me!

Categories Prayer, Scripture, UncategorizedTags, 2 Comments

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