April 19, 2017

John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John didn’t write just for the sake of writing, he wrote with a very specific purpose, and that was the salvation of his readers by faith. He has just recorded Jesus’ words about “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” (verse 29) and then he addresses those who would fall into that category. English lacks a clear 2nd person plural pronoun, (apart from the Southern “y’all”) but the Japanese here matches the Greek, making it clear that John includes anyone who might read his words. We are included! John was following Paul’s advice to the Colossians: “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) He was nearing the end of a major writing project, long before the modern conveniences we take for granted as we write, but he had an overarching purpose that motivated him, and that was the salvation of souls. We would do well to keep that same focus. Jesus told us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” (Matthew 6:33) and drawing more people in is integral to that. We should so live that those who see us will know about and be attracted to the Lord we serve, so that they too may repent and believe for their salvation.

Living in Japan I am at least aware that the vast majority of the people who see me every day are not saved, but the question remains of how much I am doing to encourage them to change that status. I feel that many in this city like and even admire me, but my frustration comes in not enabling them to see that they can have every good thing they see in me, because it is all by grace through faith. Even in the church I have not been good at encouraging the believers to exercise their gifts; they like to depend on me, and that’s not healthy. I guess that means I get a pretty low score as a pastor/teacher, because my job isn’t to do the work myself, but rather “to prepare/equip God’s people for works of service.” (Ephesians 4:12) I write daily to focus my heart to hear what God is saying to me, and then I publish what I have written as a blog, (and even as one book, so far) but that publication must be for the purpose of drawing others closer to the God I serve. If it is for my pride, then I am far better off not doing it. I feel the Lord is pushing me to complete another book I’ve started, but I must keep the purpose in sharp focus as I write. Like John, I need to write so that people may receive and experience all that God has done for them in Jesus Christ my Lord.

Father, thank You for this further reminder. Help me follow through with all that You tell me to do, not accepting any of the excuses my flesh or the devil might suggest, so that Your Name may be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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