Live in the world: a warning from John (Part 2)

I love my car. I love my technology and gadgets. I love my food. I love my family. I love my friends. And let’s be honest, I’d struggle if God asked me to give up these things. I would, but it’d be hard. Yet, there are more subtle challenges and temptations as I seek to live in the world.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
— 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)

In the previous post, I explored the concept of kosmos—the ’world’—in John. I concluded John understands it to mean that this earthly domain still remains under Satan’s influence. Let’s explore the implications and warnings from John’s words for the Christian who seeks to live by them.

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Words of encouragement: timeless assurance

I love Joseph. He’s now two years old. My greatest concern is how I will equip Him in life and faith. 10 years ago, this was a distant thought; instead I was challenged by the secularist university around me and how I would live out my faith among my friends and peers. The encouragement and assurance I needed to hear then and the encouragement and assurance I need today are quite different.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children.
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong.
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

— 1 John 2:12-14 (ESV)

Yet, there are some truths, encouragements and assurances, that remain the same regardless of the state of life we find ourselves. After reminding his readers of the greatest commandment, John writes to encourage and assurance them of their faith.

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Knowing God: a new, old commandment

The reality of God was never something I’ve really questioned. Sure, I’ve doubted the nature of God, the person of God, and my relationship to this God. In the end, the deciding question for me was whether this divine being would have any implications for my life.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

— 1 John 2:7–11 (ESV)

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Husband Hassles

Don’t let the title fool you, my wife does not hassle me. What hassles me are the heights of Scripture!

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:25-28

The words of the apostle Paul cause me to lie awake at night, challenged and distraught by my continual, seeming, lack of love for my wife. Again, not that I don’t love her, but the depth of my love in comparison to the love of Christ seems dull and feeble.

However, I must first and foremost find myself submitted to Christ. It is only out of a place of awe and reverence for Christ from which I will be able to love my wife the way she deserves.

After submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21

This verse is often translated with the verses preceeding, but it is agreed by most that it should be translated with the verses proceeding. My earlier quote (and the verses about a wife’s submission to the husband) follows the foundational point of submitting out of awe, reverence, and worship for Christ.

To my fellow married Christian brothers, who desire to be the best for your wife, set your attention upon Christ before your wife, then allow the riches of your relationship with Him flow into your marriage. For my unmarried brothers, learn this truth and embed it deep in your life so that it may be a firm foundation for you.

A love story…

Before you all excited, it’s not what you think. It’s got nothing to do with me…sorry. Maybe except that I was a privileged recipient of this story. During my time here in Toowoomba, I’ve been honoured to meet many who have walked life’s journey for many years. To be able to hear their stories, their adventures, and their perspectives was a blessing we often dismiss in our younger years.

This afternoon, I sat with an 85 year old man who in the space of 15 minutes gained my deepest respect. In those brief moments, as he recounted his story, I was impressed by the love he had for his departed wife. He shared, particularly, of the last 19 years of her life affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
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David: torn between love and duty…

Cover to Cover

Reading: 2 Samuel 18:1-20:3

Focus: 2 Samuel 19:1-8

Do you ever find yourself torn between the pull of those you love and the pull of the duty and responsibility you have elsewhere? In the most difficult circumstances, you desire one thing for those you love, yet duty and responsibility dictate another. There are times when the lines, the borders, are not so clear (or too clear) that the situation simply becomes overbearing and frustrating.

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