I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but can there be anything better than to start your day in the Scriptures? For me, spending time in God's word is incredible, and doing it in the Greek is even more amazing. I love to read the Greek because (a) I see things I might not otherwise see if I only read the text in English, and (b) I'm a Greek teacher, right? There is something about the challenge of looking at the text afresh and anew that always challenges me both intellectually and spiritually. I love it. Don't pretend you don't know what I mean. You love it too.
We're in 1 John this coming Monday in Greek class, so I thought I'd work through that book again and even maybe produce my own fresh translation/paraphrase of the text.
Here's a stab at 2:1-5:
My precious sons and daughters, I'm writing these things to you so that you will not sin. And yet if anyone should sin, we have someone who pleads our case in the very presence of the Father, Jesus Christ, one who is righteous. And it is he and he alone who appeases God's wrath through his atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also the sins of everyone.
And here is how we can be certain that we have come to know him -- we practice obedience to his commands. The person who says "I have come to know him" but does not practice obedience to his commands is a boldfaced liar. But whoever practices obedience to his message is a person whose love for God has really been made perfect and complete. To repeat, this is how we can be certain that we are in union with God: the one who claims that they are always in union with God should live the same kind of life that Jesus lived.
John is saying that as we learn how to tame the monster within through the power of Jesus' example and presence, that's when true change occurs in our lives. That's when we can begin to live an abundant, fulfilled, forgiven life in fellowship with God and others.
Going through the text carefully and then maybe even trying to make your own translation of it allows you to deep-think what the text is saying to you personally. Only Jesus Christ through his Spirit can do that. You must give your study time to him. Growth is ultimately his work. It's astounding, sometimes, how he not only leads you to a text but also creates in you a hunger for obedience to what you are studying.