My mum says I've got 'a Pegg nose'! I didn't do anything to deserve it but I'm stuck with it whether I like it or not. It's a natural consequence of me being born. As John rounds off chapter 2, he mentions what should be a natural consequence of being born again...
1 John 2:28-29
John doesn't tell his Christian readers to start realising new things. He's not talking about stuff they don't yet know. Earlier in the chapter he's clear to them that they already know the truth. They've already put their faith in Jesus and trusted him for forgiveness and they have peace with God. John is writing to tell them to 'continue' (v28) in Jesus. It's about continuing on the adventure they've started, without getting distracted by other ideas that seem tempting but are actually not of God.
We all face things that would distract us from doing what God wants for us. The difference between Christians and everyone else is that Christians have asked God to forgive them because of what Jesus has done on the cross (and God has forgiven them like he promised). If you're not yet a Christian, it's about starting but if you are a Christian, it's about continuing.
Becoming as Christian about being 'born again'. Becoming like Jesus is not something we can achieve in our own strength because it flies in the face of our own sinful nature. But when God forgives us and gives us that fresh start that we've been talking about, it's like he creates us all over again, but this time we're born of the Spirit of God and we're a 'new creation' (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So when John talks about being righteous (living right), it's not about us trying our very best not to make mistakes. Instead, it's about being true to our new nature. It's about continuing in Jesus. It's about being our true selves, the way we were made and re-made to be. When we're living this way, it's more about relaxing and resting than it is about working and striving. God is changing us bit-by-bit if we are letting him in. It's about being open to God.
When this is happening, people will begin to recognise features in our lives that come from God (v29). Our lives will have characteristics that look like God's. They will be characteristics, attitudes and actions that point people to our heavenly Dad.
Question to think/pray about: Do you need to 'start' or 'continue' with Jesus and what will that mean in reality for you?