In last week's text (1 Jn 2:6), when John speaks to his audience about walking as Jesus walked, he is giving us a powerful summary of what he thinks it means to be religious.
He thinks it means, more than anything, to love first.
In today's text (1 Jn 2:7-11), he explains that this idea of loving God and people is both old and new. It is old in that it has been present in the Bible since the beginning. It is new in that, with Jesus, its emphasis has ballooned. It has become the command that explains, and should be the result of, the Bible.
We are to focus on love. We are to exemplify love. We are to demonstrate love. We are to experience love and give others the experience of love. According to John, anything else is darkness and death. This is the religion that John understands Christianity to be. Nothing more and nothing less.
How practical this is! If you want to measure how aligned you are with the heart of Christ, just check your heart and actions towards other people. Christian love isn't just some shallow sentiment. As Jesus showed, it manifests itself in the flesh, through surprise and sacrifice. Consider these "one another" commands:
"Honor one another above yourselves." - Rm 12:10
"Live in harmony with one another." - Rm 12:16
"Accept one another" - Rm 15:7
"Instruct one another." - Rm 15:14
"Agree with one another." - 1 Cor 1:10
"Serve one another in love." - Gal 5:14
"Bear with one another in love." - Eph 4:2
"Submit to one another." - Eph 5:21
"Encourage one another" - 1 Thes 5:11
"Spur one another on toward love." - Heb 10:24
"Live in harmony with one another." - 1 Pet 3:8
Just for fun, rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on each one.
You don't have to read John's book carefully to catch this: If these attitudes and actions aren't defining how you relate to and with others, then the life, light and love of God is missing from your life.
...but available for the taking.