In the first epistle by his name, John has provided multiple ways for us to test our experience in Christ. We'll consider a few of these.
First there is the "light-dark" test. "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" 1 John 1:5-7. Did you notice the wonderful promise that accompanies that test? Some would question how they can know if they're walking in light. Another test might illuminate the answer.
We can call this one the "Doing His word" test. "Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked" 1 John 2:3-6. If we willfully reject His counsel and way of living, wouldn't you agree that that would be walking in darkness? In the next test the first two are pulled together with some specific applications.
This we'll call the "love-love not" test. "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes" 1 John 2:9-11. When we love others, and we're talking God's selfless love, we are keeping His word and walking in the light.
The "love not" portion is "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" 1 John 2:15-17.
Those are the tests. He who loves others, doesn't love the world, keeps God's word, and walks in the light "abideth forever". Praise the Lord!
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.