Getting By (With a Little Help)

Walking together
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/3386629036/">Ed Yourdon</a>

1 John 4:1-6

Friends, don’t believe just anyone. Check to see if they follow God. There are lots of imposters. You’ll know the ones who follow God because those who follow God know that Jesus was human. Anyone who denies Jesus was human isn’t from God. In fact, that’s the indication that they’re totally against God. You’ve heard about these people. Now here they are.

Kids, you are God’s, so you’ve already won. They’ve lost. Jesus in you is greater than their worldly machinations. While what they say appeals to unenlightened folk, and they get lots of people listening to them, people who know God will listen to us. We’re God’s. We can’t expect people with no interest in God to care what we say. It’s the difference between being bent toward truth or falsehood.

It can be immensely frustrating to be working hard at something you really believe in, only to have it seem to go nowhere. That frustration is even more intense, when you see someone else, a competitor, enjoying what looks like tremendous success.

  • An “Old First” church struggles along downtown barely keeping its doors open week by week looks enviously at the booming success of the newly built suburban church with hundreds of people.
  • A little human service agency with two people sitting in secondhand office chairs in their closet-sized office on the third floor looks enviously on the international non-profit conglomerate with it’s own 3-acre retreat center, complete with a duck pond.
  • A start-up businesswoman on a mission who finds herself suddenly in a head-to-head competition with WalMart.
  • A divorced woman with three kids wondering where the next rent payment is going to come from while her ex-husband is on a cruise to the Bahamas with his new girlfriend.

In each of these cases – and in your case, too – the stakes are high. The frustration and pain is real. John says that, contrary to appearances, the underdogs win.

In the meanwhile, though, until the real results of your life’s work are announced, two things:

  1. “People who know God will listen to us.” Find those people. Get with those people. They are your lifelines. And,
  2. Remember that your mission is your mission. What “they” are following (if they’re following anything) doesn’t add or take away anything from what you’re called to do. You’re “from God.” They’re doing something else. You’re not competing with that other church, that other organization, that other company, or even that other person. Your primary competitor is you. If you can do better today than you did yesterday, you win. Every day you can hang on is a day that you win.

Don’t believe just anyone. Believe in you.