“Perfected In Us” (John 13: 34 – 35; 1 John 4: 10; ESV) by Carley Evans


“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” says Jesus.

The author of 1 John reminds us that LoVe is of God, for it is not that we love Him but that He loves us. We know the essence of LoVe in that Jesus gave up “His life for us.” (1 John 3: 16)

“LoVe is from God.” (1 John 4: 7)

If we seek to change the world’s view of us and of God, then we will treat one another with humility, kindness, respect, thoughtfulness, courtesy, honesty, gentleness, and love. If we say, “I love God,” but treat our brothers and sisters in Christ with contempt, anger, distrust, disrespect, rudeness, and hatred, then we present God as irrelevant to the world; for we show that He is irrelevant to us, in this case.

God’s “LoVe is perfected in us” as we love one another. (1 John 4: 12)

In a real sense, we have an opportunity to reflect the LoVe of God to the world. Instead, so often, we present God as back-biting, mean, hateful, vengeful, slanderous, discourteous, angry, and out of touch.

Dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, let us set aside hatred of self and others, and let us fill our hearts with God’s LoVe, reminding ourselves and one another how Jesus lays down His life for us and for the world.

We love because He first loves us.

“Not For Condemnation” (John 3: 16, ESV) by Carley Evans


“For God does not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3: 17)

God’s motivation is love, not judgment. God so loves the world that He gives His only Son as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Christ’s life and death are designed to save, not to condemn the peoples of the world.

Christ comes to earth to save it and us. He comes to “seek and to save what is lost.” (Luke 19: 10) He comes not to heal those who are well, but those who are sick.

“God’s Plan For The Fullness Of Time” (John 19: 11, ESV) by Carley Evans


Pontius Pilate declares he has authority to condemn or free Jesus. Jesus answers, “You have no authority over Me at all unless it is given you from above.”

After hearing this statement, Pilate “seeks to release him.” The Jews, however, cry out against Jesus, claiming He is opposing Caesar’s rule. They demand Jesus’ crucifixion. The chief priests say, “We have no king but Caesar.” So, Pilate “delivers [Jesus] over to them to be crucified.” (John 19: 12, 15, 16) This is not Pilate’s desire. He wishes to free Jesus, as his wife warns that this man is holy and not to be touched. Pilate, despite his best intentions, relents — going along with the will of the crowd before him.

God holds all authority in heaven and on earth. No one has power over His purposes; no one succeeds against Him.

Even Satan seeks God’s permission to afflict us.

God asks Satan, “From where have you come?” (Job 2: 2) Satan responds that he has roamed “to and fro on the earth.” (Job 2: 2) God invites Satan to consider Job, a true servant of the Lord — a man of integrity who turns from evil “although you incite Me against him to destroy him without reason.” (Job 2: 3)

Without reason? — God destroys Job without reason?

Of course, Job’s friends maintain Job has sinned against God and this is the reason he is being destroyed. Job’s wife says it is God’s caprice, and strongly suggests that Job curse God and just go ahead and die!

God says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38: 2 – 4)

Essentially, Jesus says the same to Pilate. “Who are you that you think you have any authority at all over Me?”

Many respond to this truth like Job’s wife — falsely believing God “destroys without reason.” Others, perhaps only a few, know that God controls every moment in time, every motion in space. All is done with His knowledge; all is within His purposes. And all His purposes are good, perfect.

And this “is the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1: 9 – 10)

“Love Endures All Things” (1 Corinthians 13: 6 – 7, ESV) by Carley Evans


Love bears.
Love believes.
Love hopes.
Love endures.

Love bears, believes, hopes, endures all things, says Paul.

Job’s wife says to her husband, “Curse God and die!” (Job 2: 9)

At the foot of the Cross, “the rulers scoff at [Jesus], saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!’ ” (Luke 23: 35)

Job’s love of God bears up under enormous pressure. Christ’s love of us and His trust in His Father endure enormous evil from the hands of men.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by [such] great…witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endures the cross, despising the shame.” (Hebrews 12: 1 – 2)

“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal.” (Philippians 3: 13 – 14)

And the goal is love. “Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 8)

“The Good Portion” (1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 3, ESV) by Carley Evans


“If I have not love, I gain nothing.”

Paul is very clear in his letter to the Corinthian church. You may be able to speak in tongues with interpretation for the edification of others; you may be able to give all your possessions; you may be willing to sacrifice your body for the glory of the Lord — but, if you have no love in your heart, then you gain nothing.

Martha invites Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, sits at Jesus’ feet “and listens to His teaching.” (Luke 10: 39) Martha is busy with serving, distracted. She is also resentful that Mary is sitting while she is working. She asks the Lord to intervene, but He says, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 41 – 42)

The good portion is Christ Himself — not what we do for Him; but what He does for us.

The one who loves most is the one who is forgiven the most. Jesus says that those of us who are keenly aware of our need of His forgiveness are those who are the most grateful. David is a man after God’s own heart. Why? Because David is acutely aware of his need of God’s grace. As we are aware of how much God loves us, though we are undeserving, we are able to love others, though they may be undeserving.

We are to forgive as we are forgiven.

Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus responds, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18: 21, 22)

Love keeps no record of wrongdoing. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 7 – 8)

“The Royal Law Of Liberty” (1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 5, ESV) by Carley Evans


Love does not insist on its own way, but is kind and patient. Love has no envy, jealousy, arrogance. Love is never rude. Love is humble, giving, considerate.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5: 7) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5: 9)

James writes, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” (James 2: 8 – 10)

We are accountable for all of the law for we each fail at one point or another. God is merciful. He forgives us our trespasses as we forgive others.

“So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2: 12 – 13)

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13: 13)

“Love Is From God” (2 Thessalonians 1: 3, ESV) by Carley Evans


Paul says that the right thing to do is to give thanks to God for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to thank God for their abundant spiritual growth. We are to be pleased that our brothers and sisters in Christ love each other.

The author of 1 John writes, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God.” (1 John 4: 7)

Paul encourages us to “speak the truth in love” so as “to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ.” (Ephesians 4: 15)

What does he mean to “speak the truth in love?”

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge… A gentle tongue is a tree of life… The lips of the wise spread knowledge.” (Proverbs 15: 1 – 2, 4, 7)

As we speak truth, knowledge, wisdom to our brothers and sisters, we are to keep a gentle tongue bathed in the love of God. We are to “restore [others] in a spirit of gentleness.” We are to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6: 1, 2)

“The Powerful Working Of God” (1 Corinthians 5: 7 – 8, ESV) by Carley Evans


Have you heard — Christians can not sin? Have you heard — if you sin, then you are not really saved?

Paul says to the Corinthian church, “I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.” He claims to be their “father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” As their father, he urges them to “be imitators of me.” (1 Corinthians 4: 14, 16) He commands the church to “cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened.” Paul writes to the Colossians, “If then you are raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3: 1 – 4) He calls them to “put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” (Colossians 3: 5)

Paul urges them not to be chained again “by philosophy and empty deceit.” (Colossians 2: 8) He tells them and us that we “are filled in [Christ], who is the head of all rule and authority. In Him, [we] are circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which [we] are also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And [we], who were dead in [our] trespasses and the uncircumcision of [our] flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2: 10 – 14) God sets aside our record of debt. He eliminates legal demands. He puts off our body of flesh, and makes us a “new lump” in Christ. He makes us “unleavened;” this feat is accomplished “in the powerful working of God.”

Our part is to daily “put off” the old leaven, the old earthly self. This also is accomplished through the “powerful working” of God, the Holy Spirit. Hence, Paul admonishes his beloved children, not to shame them but to prod them towards the prize, the goal of their salvation.

“You Therefore Must Be Perfect” (Matthew 5: 43 – 45, ESV) by Carley Evans


Jesus acknowledges that under the old covenant, hating one’s enemy is expected. Retribution is the rule, not the exception — ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ (Matthew 5: 38) Today, Islam lives under this same rule of retribution. But, under the new covenant which Jesus introduces to His disciples and followers, Jesus calls them and us to “love [our] enemies and pray for those who persecute [us], so that [we] may be sons of [our] Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 43 – 44)

Jesus calls us to perfection. In us there must be no evil intention, no thought or act of hatred or revenge. If we only love those who love us, “what reward do [we] have?” (Matthew 5: 46)

How do we love the man who murders our child? How do we love the woman who steals our husband? How do we love the drunk driver who totals our car? How do we love the colleague who cheats on his taxes? How do we love the neighbor who plays music so loudly it makes our floors vibrate? How do we love the driver who cuts us off in traffic and nearly causes a needless accident? How do we love the person in the grocery store who drops a jar of jelly and walks away without a thought?

I maintain we don’t. I maintain that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God, loves these individuals through us. Hence Jesus asks us to “be perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5: 48)

“Idols Do Not Profit” (Psalm 97: 10, ESV) by Carley Evans


The Lord commands us — those who love Him — to hate evil. The evil we are called to hate by the psalmist is idolatry, the worship of any thing other than God.

“All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols.” (Psalm 97: 7)

“All those who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?” (Isaiah 44: 9 – 10) The ironsmith and the carpenter make “figures of men, with the beauty of a man” from iron or wood. The wood “becomes fuel for a man. He takes part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes an idol and falls down before it.” (Isaiah 44: 13, 15)

Idolatry is the ultimate wickedness and folly — worshiping something made by man himself.

God “preserves the life of His saints” whereas an idol created by man has no power to preserve, has no power to heal, has no power to love, has no power to save.

The psalmist proclaims, “Fire goes before [God] and burns up His adversaries all around.” (Psalm 97: 3)