...So We Can Change

1 John 4:1-21

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from GOD, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

I like John. John not only retells stories, he tries to put GOD, put Jesus to us in human terms, yet more than human… present, yet more than present.

John was the son of Zebedee, you know the story, Jesus was walking by the shore… saying drop your nets and follow me. John was close to Jesus, he was the disciple that is mentioned in John 13:23 as “the disciple whom Jesus loved…” John not only knew Jesus. John KNEW JESUS, and yet John says, “do not believe every spirit.” I get the idea that in John’s time, like today, we get tested. I get tested every day! Tested by my addictions, tested by my convictions, tested by my co-workers, tested by my neighbors, by my friends… I get tested by my family.

We were in the car, Carsten and I…and a friend… someone I knew, had died. Well, truthfully, he drank himself to death, he was an alcoholic. He knew it, I knew it, his family knew it. I told him he was an alcoholic and I didn’t want him back at work unless he stopped drinking… four months later his liver gave out, then his lungs gave out, and finally his whole body gave out. I went to see him in the hospital. His mom and sister were there, but his 14 year old son was by the bed attending him. He was in and out… more out than in. His son was wiping his nose while standing beside the bed (his son had skipped school to be with his dad). Pat woke up and said to me “What are you doing here?” It was the first coherent thing he had said in 24 hours. I said “I came to see you and it is good to see your family here.” His son wiped his nose and eyes…. And I said “Pat, you have an awesome son!” There was a trace of a smile and he went back to sleep. I broke into tears, not something you wipe off with a hand, not even one a tissue could soak up.

I was telling Carsten that we all have addictions, and like a 15 year old Carsten says… “Dad, what are you addicted to?”

Jesus was tested. He was tested by the disciples, by the Pharisees, by the Sadducees, by his family. Jesus was tested by the devil three times while in the desert. We all get tested.

We made a stop to get something at the store and Carsten did not bring up the question again. But the question kept haunting me, why was I hesitant to let my son know I am human just like everybody else, that I have addictions, shortcomings, and limitations? This isn’t something the world would have us do. The world tells us we not only need to be perfect, but we can be perfect. We can fix our problems with a book, a pill, a machine, an operation…the world says we can fix it and we will be accepted by the world when we change.

1John 4:4-6 “You, dear children, are from GOD and have overcome them (false prophets), because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They (false prophets) are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from GOD, and whoever knows GOD listens to us; but whoever is not from GOD does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the spirit of Truth and falsehood.

Richard Rohr says, “GOD does not love us if we change, GOD loves us so we can change.” In the same way, I need to love me not because I will change. I need to love me so I can change. GOD loves me as I am! GOD loves you as you are, right now, with your addictions, your worries, and your concerns. GOD LOVES YOU!

On the way home I shared with Carsten my addictions… because I want those who love me… to love me not if I change, but so I can change!

Precious Father, Loving God, Holy Spirit, I thank you for your love, your son. I pray for you to help me see you in everything I do, everything I touch. Help me to learn how much you love me more every day! AMEN!

Jim Dietvorst

7 comments (Add your own)

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That was so wonderful and heart felt. Thanks for a wonderful message.

Thu, February 25, 2010 @ 10:50 PM

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Thank-you for your honesty. Wendy is right heart & spirit felt! God Bless, Julie

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