“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

In studying the Bible, it is always helpful to know the purpose and context of a given book. John wrote to a group of believers who were encountering false teaching and some who had gone out from them, despite previous claims of faith. John provided the church with solid criteria for testing genuine faith. He wrote that his readers might not fall into sin like those who had gone out from them (see 1 John 2:1). Prior to this verse, he had explained that God’s commandments are not burdensome…because a believer’s obedience enables them to overcome. To obey is the way of divine blessing.

Do you feel like you are overcoming the world, or that the world has left you overwhelmed? Dedicate some time this week to reading the entire Book of 1 John. It has significant insight and impact about what it means to exhibit true faith and overcome the world through obedience before God.

As we begin a new year, we are reminded that faith is exhibited through love for God and others. Begin this year by asking God to grow your faith and to grow your love for Him and those He has placed in your life.

• How would you assess your level of love for God and others in 2018? How can you be encouraged, even in the ways you have failed, because of Jesus?

• What are some intentional ways you will seek to grow in faith and love for God and others in 2019?

• Pray that the Lord will give you a deeper work of faith and love in your life.