Scripture: 1 John 4:4-12
Key Verse: 1 John 4:6
One of my biggest pet peeves is being ignored. This can come in many forms: talking while I’m talking, listening to respond instead of listening to understand, or just acting like you can’t hear me speaking. I mean it really grinds my gears. For the longest, I tried to act tough like it didn’t really bother me that so many people didn’t value the words that I said. However, in recent years it has become very difficult to overlook this pain because it has added to my feelings of loneliness. I wanted to be heard not because I thought what I was saying was any more important than the next person, but because I wanted to feel like my words mattered. So, I turned to scripture. I asked God why it felt like people were always ignoring my words or the things I did. He led me to 1st John chapter 4, which will serve as the foundation for our devotional today.
In 1 John 4, John is warning us of some of the things we will experience here on Earth and how we should respond to them. While this isn’t the focus of our study, I highly recommend reading the entirety of this chapter to learn more about these events. Our reading for today’s devotional begins with the reminder that God lives on the inside of us (v.4). I feel like God stopped me here because I get so caught up in trying to do things for the world or how I’m feeling as a result of things going on in the world that I forget the treasure I have on the inside of me. This is an amazing truth to hold on to especially if you are dealing with feelings of loneliness. The fact that God is inside us means that we are truly never alone.
Now we have to address the big elephant, being ignored. Verses 5 and 6 were a reality check for me because they forced me to consider who I am trying to speak to. It is so easy to be offended when you feel like you don’t fit in anywhere or no one wants to hang out with you or listen to you. But, these verses show us that there are going to be some people who don’t care about what you have to say or do if you are not following the plans of the enemy. (For context, 1 John talks about the antichrist.) So, of course, if you are going against the patterns of the world, it will feel lonely at times because God has set us apart from the people of the world. Do not change your speech or actions to be more like them. Instead continue to walk boldly in who God called you to be. The people who are meant to hear you and see you will do so in time.
Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking this is cute but it doesn’t help me respond to those who hurt me nor does it really fix my pain. Well this is where verse 7 comes into play. We have to respond with love, so that we can be the representation of God on this Earth. It can be tempting to want to yell and lash out to be seen and heard but this is not the right way to do it. Verse 11 reminds us that because God loves us, we have to love one another. Think about how many times you have talked over God or ignored Him all together. Think about how many times you didn’t invite Him into the plans of your day. He didn’t give up on you. He loved you even more. In fact, He loved us so much that He sent His son to die for our sins (v.10).
I know that it can be hard to be set apart by God but the benefit comes in the form of eternity with Him. We cannot get caught up in being excluded on Earth no matter how painful it becomes. We have to remember that we are loved always by the one who created us. Therefore, we have to show love to others. God loves you. He set you apart with purpose in mind. Will you choose to conform to the flesh or will you lean into His love today?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for always listening to me when I speak and for being there for me every single day. Lord, when I am feeling low please remind me of your presence. Help me to love those who have ignored or excluded me so that you may get the glory. Lord, I am grateful for all that you have done. Please continue to have your way in my life. In Jesus name, amen.