What's your trajectory?

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to camp out in 1 John for awhile, and the experience has been really rewarding.

John has this really frank way of talking that kicks you down and picks you up again, kind of like a good friend.

Check out what he has to say in 1 John 3:4-10:
No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.  Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 
By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

See, just as we are always worshiping something, we are also always practicing something.  So what are we practicing?

All about trajectory

Practice may make perfect, but practice does not mean perfection.  Earlier in the chapter John states "what we will be has not yet appeared."  We are not yet perfect.  We are still broken sinners with dusty, frail frames.  We will make mistakes, but what are we practicing?  Where is our trajectory?  Are we practicing righteousness, finding ways to grow in our relationship with God and in our relationships with others?  Or are we practicing sin and lawlessness?

Are we perfecting the art of loving and serving God and others?  Or are we perfecting the art of burying and explaining away our sin?  We will become experts at what we practice.

A sobering reminder

John has some pretty strong words about those who practice sin.  Those who practice sin are lawless and are of the devil and are not born of God.  Ouch.  And PS you have to love your brother, too.  Double ouch.  John wants us to step back and evaluate ourselves.  Where is our trajectory?  What is our goal?  This isn't about a person losing their salvation, but if someone consistently sins and makes a practice of it, maybe he or she wasn't saved to begin with.  And even for the believer whose salvation is sure- now is a good time to stop and check my heart.

Hope for the believer

Given that warning, sometimes my lack of perceptible progress discourages me.  Why am I like this?  Why can't I get it together?  But John gives me reason to hope.  The one who has "God's seed" that "abides in him" cannot keep sinning.  John states this unequivocally.  He cannot.  Why?  He has been born of God.  Whatever we struggle with in this life, we will overcome.  As Paul states elsewhere: Who will save me from this body of sin and death?  Praise to Jesus Christ who gives me the victory.