When I was in high school, I played basketball. I was a major force to be reckoned with. I averaged 4 points a game my senior year, so that should tell you how lethal I was on the court. I WAS a starter, however, which meant that when teams would play defense against us, they HAD to guard me.
I recall that we were playing in a post-season tournament, and the guy guarding me had sunk WAY down into the paint. Instead of guarding me, he was double-teaming my buddy, Norm, who was our leading scorer. We couldn’t start our offense with them lined up that way, so I looked over to my coach, who yelled, “Shoot it!”. My very first shot of the game was a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key.
Nothing but net. For the rest of the game, I PRETENDED like I was Steph Curry. Every time I got the ball, I acted like I was about to drain a 3 right in someone’s face.
They HAD to guard me, because of who I was pretending to be. I couldn’t have hit that many 3s, but the other team didn’t know that, did they?
How do you know a person is a follower of God? People can tell you, but that may not always be enough.
How many of you have ever been deceived by someone?
I’m going to be talking about ONE of the main elements of being able to tell if a person is a Christian or not.
Check out 1 John 4:7-13.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
Love is from God.
God gives us the gift of love. First of all, God loves us. He showed us that love in that He sent His son Jesus, to die for us even when we didn’t deserve it. God’s love for us gives us the ability to love others with that same kind of love.
We can love others.
It may not be easy…now…there are some people in our lives that may be easy to love. I mean our friends…maybe that girl we’re crushing on…those types of people…yeah we can love them…but there may be others that aren’t so easy to love.
Let me tell you, the ones in our lives that are the hardest to love are the ones that need love the most. They are the ones who need to know that there is a God that loves them and you and I can be the ones that show them that God loves them.
Love is the evidence of God at work in us.
If God loves us, we ought to love one another. Check out verse 13 again….you see what that says? By this we know that we abide in him and he in us.
If you say you follow Jesus, but you don’t have love in your heart…you may want to doublecheck yourself.