June Article

As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.  1 John 2:24

The process of siphoning old fuel out of my generator has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I know, there are tools for such procedures, but such niceties never stopped me from getting it done. Siphoning and spiritual application: here goes.

Reflecting on 1 Jn. 2:15-29 this morning, I notice the contrast of the evil one’s many spiritually destructive “siphons” with the singular call to abide.  There is no end to the enticements presented to us in this life, all for the purpose of derailing, discouraging and distracting our life in the Lord. He warned us that it would not be easy (Matt. 6:22-24). But He did provide the power, and the means of escape from every trap of the enemy (1 Cor. 10:13). What are the distractions that seem to best pull us from Him, the Vine of John 15?

Perhaps my understanding of “abide” needs a bit more tooth to it. Rather than a passive state of just basking in His presence, it can (and does) often mean my strong resistance against outside pressures. We must stay rooted in the primary things of Christ. We cannot stray from the elemental truths of life in Father, Son and Spirit. Our full armor must be on. Sometimes our abiding will take us to the limit—where all we can do is stand (Eph. 6:13). But even in that day, it is still an active opposition in the attack mounted against us.

Siphoning is useful in the world. But beware the siphoning of Satan. He will drain you dry.

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.