You will improve.
You can listen to today’s devotion by clicking on this SoundCloud link.
“Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.”
1 John 3:7-10 (New Living Translation)
My wife says that people have strong feelings about cats and cilantro. Not many are ambivalent. Personally I see cats as useful for moussing but I find their “affection” to be duplicitous. So for me, cats are of the devil and cilantro tastes like soap. However, I don’t hold to that dogmatically. If you experience cats or cilantro differently that’s ok with me.
This photo is of a painting at the Children’s Hospital in Denver. Most of the cats look evil to me.
These strong cat feelings are similar to John’s words here. There is no room for gray area. If I take his words at face value and let them filter my life, I will certainly lose hope. I cannot claim to do righteousness all the time, so I cannot claim to be a righteous man. My hope rekindles in two possible readings, and I think they are both right.
The first hinges on the word “practice”. Which do I seek and try to do more of? Evil or righteousness? The Holy Spirit perseveres in me and I do seek out righteousness. When I find sin or evil in me I am broken to the point of repentance. I say this knowing that each step in this direction is faltering and imperfect.
The second is even more hopeful especially at times when the evil in me seems so prevalent. Certainly the righteous one John speaks of is satisfied fully by Christ Himself. Jesus came to satisfy the required righteousness here. And that righteousness has been given to us at the cross.
Copyright photo and text David Brukiewa