Jesus Christ Is Our Advocate
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1)
Johanna was not happy. She and her sister Donna had gotten in an argument, and Dad had walked into the living room to find them standing on either end of the couch, yelling at one another. Both Johanna and Donna had been sent to their rooms to think about what they had been fighting over, and why they thought it was "so worth fighting for."
But Johanna already knew it wasn't worth the kind of meanness she had let loose on Donna. It had just started out as a tiny disagreement – about whose doll would get to wear a favorite outfit for that day. But this was not the first time Donna's attitude had gotten on Johanna's nerves, so Johanna had decided to tell Donna what she really thought of her – and her doll. She never intended to end up on one side of the couch, throwing pillows at Donna and yelling mean things at her. But that's what had happened.
She already regretted it, even before Dad finally came in to punish her. If only it could be easier to remember that she loved Donna – right during that very moment when Donna was getting on her nerves! But those annoying moments seemed like the hardest times to remember love. Johanna could only think about herself when she started to get angry like that.
She picked up her Bible and looked at the verse she had just studied that morning. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not." Well, I already blew that today, thought Johanna.
But she kept on reading. "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Wow! she thought, shaking her head. She had looked "advocate" up in the dictionary just that morning, and she had learned that an advocate is someone who stands up in court to explain someone's case and defend that person. An advocate is a spokesperson, someone who speaks in behalf of someone else. It is someone who is strong and guiltless who represents someone who is weak and guilty.
Johanna thought about that idea long and hard. It was amazing to think that Someone strong and perfect like Jesus was representing someone weak and sinful like her. Now she understood why the first part of the verse came before the second part. The thought of Jesus "fighting for" her was something to be thankful for – and something worth fighting for! Slowly it dawned on Johanna: Because of what Jesus Christ had done and was still doing for her, she needed to fight against sin. Her real battles should not be with Donna or anyone else, but with her own sinful nature. Johanna knew that to please her Advocate, she needed to fight harder against the temptation to sin in the first place.
Jesus Christ stands before God as our righteous Defender.
» Am I constantly sinning and just relying on Jesus' righteousness to cover for me?
» Do I think my own selfish desires are worth fighting for?
» Am I willing to focus my time and energy on fighting against my own sin?
Truth In Real Life
“No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.”
In 1904, William Borden graduated from high school – the whole world at his fingertips. Born as the heir to a massive family fortune, Borden was a millionaire by the time he was sixteen years old. As a graduation present, his parents gave him a trip around the world.
As he traveled to places such as Asia and Europe, he felt a terrible burden in his heart for the people he saw. Millions around the world were dying without the Savior.
God convicted his heart during this trip, and he wrote his parents a letter that said, “I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.” About this same time he also wrote in his Bible these two words – “No reserves.” He planned to hold nothing back.
Borden came home to the United States and attended college at Yale University. While there, he started a small prayer group that grew into a group of 1,000 students before he finished at Yale. He was known for making an effort to reach out to some of the hardest and meanest students in the school. He wanted to see Jesus Christ save them.
The plan that began to formulate in Borden’s mind was to go to China as a missionary worker. People told him he was foolish to throw away his life as a millionaire, but he believed better. Following his college graduation, he turned down high-paying job opportunities and wrote two more words in his Bible – “No retreats.” He would not hide from God’s drawing and calling on his life.
On December 17, 1912, Borden finally left for the next step in his missionary preparation: Language study in Egypt. Soon after his arrival in Egypt, however, he contracted spinal meningitis and became deathly ill. Within one month, he was dead. His friends and acquaintances back home and around the world lamented the tragedy and declared it such a “waste” of life.
But William Borden, who had once said, “Say ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to Jesus every time” would not have agreed with the popular opinion about his tragic death. When his family members recovered his Bible, they found two more words added to the first four. At the time of his death, it read: “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.”
If you were to die today, would you have regrets about the way you spent your time and other resources? What does God consider a “waste”? Are you living your life with a long, eternal view of what is most valuable, or are you listening too much to what the world says about what’s most important?
Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.