We live in a time when it is often difficult to know what to believe. We all know people who have had a hard time accepting human testimony. An eighty-year-old woman whose husband and she have never agreed on politics was named the best social studies teacher of the year twice. She led the Model UN and International Friendship Council and took high school students to what was then the Soviet Union eight times. Her husband left his law practice to work for the State Department in Cairo and Botswana. When others his age retired, he worked at a multinational base. This couple serves the common good, and they raised their children to do the same. And they still disagree on whose testimony to believe.
They do agree on church attendance and on listening and adhering to biblical imperatives. For this couple, “the testimony of God is greater.” Take for instance the testimony Jesus gave as he separated the sheep from the goats and tried mightily to convince us all to feed Jesus by feeding the hungry, to clothe Jesus by clothing the naked, to give Jesus something to drink by giving drink to the thirsty, to visit Jesus by visiting the prisoner, and to welcome Jesus by welcoming the stranger. (See Matthew 25:31-46.) Jesus even proclaimed that if we do not feed, clothe, visit, and welcome him in this way, we will not be saved.
Eternal life is given in Christ. First John urges us to believe the testimony God has given about his Son. If we say that we believe that testimony, we must ask ourselves whether our lives reflect that belief. Do we live in a way that shows Christ in us?
Good and gracious God, I do believe; help me live into that belief. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Help us all to discern your will in our lives. Amen.
Scripture tells us that in our lives, especially in our spiritual lives, we need to distinguish what is true from what is false. The psalmist admonishes us to follow the truth of God and flee wicked ideas. This week we read about Judas, who did not follow that advice—with disastrous results. In Acts, the apostles seek to replace Judas with a witness to Jesus who has not been led astray. In John’s Gospel, Jesus bemoans the loss of Judas and prays that his followers will cling to his words. First John reminds us that God’s words are trustworthy above all. They bear witness to the life that comes through Christ, whose legitimacy was confirmed by his ascension into heaven.
Read Acts 1:1-11. How do you experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life? How does the Spirit guide you?
Read Psalm 1. Who are the people around you who exhibit the strength and fruitfulness of those described in this psalm?
Read 1 John 5:9-13. How have you come to know the testimony of God in your heart? How do you live differently as a result?
Read John 17:6-19. What helps you to sense God’s presence and protection in your life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.