May Article

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.   1 John 2:17

God has ultimately won, though there is a battle yet today. In orderly rank, we are to Learn of Him, Love Him, and Live as an encouragement for others to trust Him.

The enemy cannot regain ownership of us. But he would ensnare us with an imitation—lust. When deceived and diverted, our testimony evaporates. There’s no heart to obey, when consumed with Vanity Fair.

In describing this snare, suppose the evil one (2:13,14) wrote a song, You Gotta Love The World!

The words “I,” “Me,” “My,” and “Mine” would fill it. Praises for money, fame, and freedom to do as the heart craves would flow. There would be lyrics on teaching children these “values,” with rhymes cheering a relentless pursuit of physical appearance and current fashion. A breakout rap mocking commitment to marriage, or any other selfless serving, would follow. The chorus would be snappy and memorable—love yourself, love the world. Larger than life notoriety will be your mark as others see your boundless life, aspiring to be just like you.

John writes in caution: don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

The good things God gives are to be embraced, and the root of loving the world—a lustful, fleshly heart—is to be daily put to death. The outworkings of unbridled lusts (2:15-16) are countered in this seventeenth verse. The enemy’s world treasures never satisfy. They are counterfeit, doomed to fade. They are lesser things, not worthy of you, a child of God. Seek the things of eternal value, here and now. Embrace your loving Lord; focus on obedience.

Resist the pop tunes of the enemy, no matter how loudly they play, day after passing day.

April Article

…the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.    1 John 2:6

We have a cat. A debatable assertion, since most agree that none can truly “have” a cat. The cat decides if you are deemed worthy for it to abide. Our feline is Oscar, a once-stray who communicates his life and times to our son Samuel. Their telepathy is amazing. Pull up a chair and ask Sam about Oscar. You’re in for a long chat.

Oscar has manic territorial instincts. Our other cat had to be adopted out, like one fleeing into a witness protection program. Oscar could not abide competition to the food supply. He lives to guard his treasure; a two-bay plastic dish filled each evening with delicacies. One compartment gets kibbles resembling snack mix. The other, a substance akin to ground-up rodent in savory gravy. Oscar feasts alone. Such is his life: fiercely guard the treasure.

John’s loving call to us in this chapter is akin to this notion of guarding the treasure. We should recount (often) what the Lord has done by removing our sin debt. That “treasuring” should lead us to obedience. We learn in life—hopefully not late—that a right response to one we love (treasure) is in doing what is pleasing to them. So true love has practical application—not just words. The more we know Him, the more we love Him and desire to keep His commands. We recall His “old” command (John 13:34-35), but now with the greater light of what He has completed for us in love (1 Jn. 2:8). Our “proof” of treasuring Christ is absolutely demonstrated (1 Jn. 2:9-11) through the genuineness of our love for all of His “little children.”

So guard the treasure, and share the feast.

March Article

…walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light…    
 1 John 1:7a

Recent repairs sent me into the dark recesses under the house. My tool box I pulled behind me was full, brimming with all the items I might potentially need. For crawling in and out of confined spaces is not my forte. Amusing to bystanders, perhaps—but not my forte.

First among the tools were several flashlights.

Here in 1 John, the Light—God Himself—is pure and holy, with no “dark side” or evil at all. The True Light also reveals our problem: darkness, called sin.  In a series (1:5-10) of “if” and “if we say” statements, John presents the tendency of man to reject the Light of truth, and ultimately God Himself. Simply summarized, if we can lie away the truth concerning our sin, then certainly we have no need for a savior. We will contend that it is God doing the lying…

John will write of many contrasts within this epistle; the first is compelling. Light has nothing in common with darkness. Yet light dispels (destroys) the darkness. Those who would walk in the light must walk out of darkness, and agree with what the light exposes, around them and in them.

Best of all, He who is Light lovingly bids us to come to Him.

Compare my crawl space experience to our spiritual state: without the Light, no problem could have ever been resolved concerning our darkness. The need and desire to remedy our lost situation would have remained unfulfilled, if the True Light was unwilling to shine. But shine, praise God, He graciously did. And He still does, today.

He got down there, and dispelled the darkness. He is your working Light. Now go, into the darkness of your world, and let the True Light shine.