Together in Christ: 'Belonging to God' — 1 John 4:4-6

Thursday, October 31, 2024

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.
— 1 John 4:4-6 NLT

Key Thought

We have spent many of our devotionals on relationships focused on our walk with God. This primary relationship orients us properly within all other relationships. Today's verses help us understand the implications of "belonging to God" as it impacts our relationships. Notice these vital truths for relationships taught in our verses for today: [1]

  • We are God's dear children who can approach God as our Abba Father. [2]
  • Because we belong to God, some people in the world don't understand us, and some even oppose us.
  • Because we belong to God, we listen to God's authoritative witnesses in the Scriptures.
  • People of the world don't understand why God and His truth are so important to us.
  • The Holy Spirit of God, Who reminds us of the truth in Jesus, [3] is more powerful than the spirit at work in the unbelieving world hostile to God and His people.
  • We can recognize people aligned with the way of God and those opposing the way of God by their willingness, or unwillingness, to live by what God's witnesses in Scripture have taught.

Jesus taught us to recognize a tree by the kind and quality of fruit it produced. [4] In other words, we should ask, "Do the people in my life produce the fruit of righteous character, gracious compassion, and steadfast love and justice showing they are seeking God?" [5] John elaborates on this truth, helping us understand who we can trust, who is an imposter, and who directly opposes the ways of God. Do they love the things God loves? Do they do the things God desires? Do they obey the things taught in Scripture? Do they measure up to what the Spirit of God develops in people? [6] We should build our closest relationships with other followers of Jesus, while we also strive to live in the world but protected from the evil in the world [7] as we seek to lead others to Christ. [8]

[1] Each of these principles is found in today's verses.
[2] Romans 8:9-17.
[3] John 14:15-26; 1 John 2:20-27.
[4] Matthew 7:16-20, 12:33.
[5] These three descriptions of God's nature were given to us by God Himself — Genesis 18:19; Exodus 34:6; 2 Chronicles 9:8; Psalm 86:5, 15; Hosea 2:19-20.
[6] 2 Corinthians 3:18, 6:9-11; Galatians 5:22-23.
[7] John 17:14-19.
[8] Mark 2:17; Matthew 9:13; 1 Corinthians 10:33.

Today's Prayer

Father, give me confidence in my relationship with You so that I can live in loving harmony with fellow believers and with a commitment to reach those in my circle of relationships who do not yet follow Jesus. Guide and protect me as I seek to grow in righteous character, gracious compassion, steadfast love, and justice as I seek to reflect Your nature and holiness in my life. At the same time, dear Father, enable me to reach out to the lost and broken without fear, knowing Your Spirit is alive in me to empower and equip me to live in a world opposed to Your ways. I ask this in Jesus' mighty name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • John 3:16-21

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Illustration

Illustration of 1 John 4:4-6 NLT — But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.