Today’s Bible Verse
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.1 John 5:12
To Have and To Hold
Have you heard of IFTTT? IFTTT stands for the programming conditional statement if this, then that. It is used to automate tasks in software or between smart electronic devices. For example, with smart lights you can program them: “if it is a certain time of the day, then your lights turn on” and “if it’s another time of the day, your lights automatically turn off.” You can program your phone: “if the International Space Station is passing over your head, then your phone will notify you and give you that information.”
I look at 1 John 5:12 as an IFTTT statement, “If we have the Son, then we have life. If we do not have the Son, then we do not have life.” The life that this verse refers to is not just Salvation; it includes Salvation, but it is also so much more. It is the Greek word zoe which means abundant life. This is the life that God wants us to have while we are here on this earth. This is the kind of life where we walk in God’s purpose and will. This is the “Marvelous Life” that Pastor Art has been teaching us about these past few weeks. But remember, this Marvelous Life is conditional—”He who has the Son….”
So, the real question is, “Do we have the Son?” If we were asked that question, the majority of us would say, “Yes, I have the Son.” or “Yes, I am Born Again.” or “Yes, I said the Sinner’s Prayer.” or even “Yes, I am a Christian.” But this is not really what this verse is saying.
The word has is the Greek word echo, “to have in hand.” It means, “to have and to hold.” This is where we get the traditional marriage vows: “I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.”
Do we hold onto Jesus in sickness and in health, in richer and in poorer, in good times and in bad times? Or do we only hold onto Jesus some of the time? Do we hold onto Jesus 7 days a week, 24 hours a day? Or do we only hold onto Jesus on Sundays? Do we hold onto Jesus no matter where we are, regardless of who is around? Or do we let Him go based on where we are and the people we are with? The problem is that sometimes we let go of Jesus because we want to hold on to other things.
Go and get two of the biggest cups you can find. I mean BIG cups, like Super Size or Double Big Gulp cups. If you don’t have any cups near you, just imagine the cups as you read along. Now, set one of the cups down near you and grab the other cup and hold it in your hand. Imagine this cup that you are holding is Jesus, and this cup is filled with the Marvelous Life that God has for you. As long as you hold onto this cup, you possess this Marvelous Life full of divine purpose, and you’re walking in your divine calling. Now, look at the other cup and try and grab that cup with the same hand.
This second cup could be many things. It could be behaviors and habits from before you followed Jesus. It could be discontentment with your job or home. It could be anger, pride, and offense because someone did you wrong and hurt you. So you try to pick up that cup of hurt and despair, but you can’t pick up that cup as long as you are holding tightly onto Jesus. The moment you put Jesus down and set Him aside, your hand is free to lift that other cup, but it does not have Jesus nor the Marvelous Life that He wants you to have.
Grip firm to Jesus. Have and hold Him all the days of your life, and you will possess the Marvelous Life that God has already written for you. (Rick Abordo)
Seize the Moment
Think about a few circumstances in your past where you were tempted to “let go” of Jesus. What were you doing? Who were you with? Please share these answers with your Life Group leader.
Set Your Life
Write down three ways that you can remind yourself to “hold tight” to Jesus during those circumstances. Please also discuss this with your Life Group Leader.
Lord Jesus, I repent for the times that I have let You go to take hold of other things. I will have and hold firmly onto you Jesus from this day forward, in all times and all circumstances. I receive the Marvelous Life you have planned for me!
Today’s Bible Reading
- Old Testament: Leviticus 16-17; Psalms 43
- New Testament: Matthew 19:16-30; Acts 26:19-32