There are moments during worship at Edgewood when I just can’t wait to get up behind the pulpit and start preaching. It often happens when we’re all singing (and the worship through song is great at our church), and true confessions, I just can’t wait for it to be over because I’ve got something that I need to get up and say. At the impetuous risk of mentioning myself in the same breath with Jeremiah, it seems similar to what he describes…
If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. Jeremiah 20:9 (ESV)
I’m guessing that this is something that God does with His spokesmen and women: He gives them something to say and then they feel like they will die if they don’t get it out. I vaguely remember hearing the story of a pastor who fell ill and was unable to preach anymore, eventually dying. To his great lamentation, he had prepared a sermon that he was, of course, unable to preach. Talk about a bad way to go – he had a fire in his bones, and he couldn’t put it out.
So I think I know what’s happening to John when he says this…
And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:4 (ESV)
He’s writing to a congregation of his spiritual children, and some from their midst have left the faith (2:19). Surely that was enough to make those remaining discouraged, so John has a message of truth and encouragement to pass on to them and make them spiritually strong. He’s got a message he needs to get out, and he’s bound and determined to do so.
Apparently, his joy is on the line.
All true believers have probably experienced this phenomenon at some time or another. When you understand that eternity is on the line for someone you love deeply, you get blood earnest to pass on the message. I often run into parents whose children are straying, and who are anxious to correct them with the truth. Oftentimes they aren’t quite sure how to get the truth to them, but they are raring and ready to do it one way or another. Overall, I think this is healthy, though of course there is a way to pass on truth without overwhelming someone, and we need to be careful to heed the Spirit in our communication. Jesus didn’t unload everything all at once on His disciples (John 16:12).
How about you? Do you have a passion to communicate truth to those you love? You’ll know you’re on the right track when you find you can’t be happy until the ones you love know and believe the truth of the gospel.