February 18. 1 John 2:15-29
John is now in the middle of his letter and full of warnings against temptations to stray and encouragements to listen to the Holy Spirit who lives within these believers. He wants so much for them to stay in close connection with the Lord. He knows the many temptations out there from within the church and without. Let's look at both, because both still exist today and we all need to be aware of them, too.
The world can tempt us away from our first love, Who is Jesus. John lists three specific ways. First, we can choose to elevate what "feels good" temporarily over what IS good. That applies to SO many things, doesn't it? It can be as simple as choosing to scroll Facebook over starting the day with a quiet time to as wrong as choosing to have an affair over working through a difficult time in your marriage. We are not to elevate physical pleasure over the Lord's will for us. Second, we can be tempted by possessions. We can crave a bigger house, a better phone, and just more stuff of all kinds. It's another kind of addiction, really, when we go after the temporary "high" of something new rather than choosing the steady way of following Christ and trusting Him to provide our needs. Last, we can elevate our own accomplishments above Jesus. The world says "put yourself first" and "you take care of you." God says, "seek first MY kingdom and righteousness and all these things will then be given or added as you need them. Quite simply, nothing comes before our allegiance to God. Anything that grips us and demands first priority in our lives is an idol. Only God gets that "first place." Let's watch out for the ways the world can tempt us away from the One who alone can give us all we need and the full peace that passes understanding.
The "antichrists" can also tempt us to walk away from the truth of the gospel. In order to appeal to lots of people, it's tempting to water down the Word of God. John is very clear here. Jesus is the only way. And those who follow Him can't "be nice" and say all ways work. They don't. "Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also" (1 John 2:23 NLT). We can't compromise on this. And it's tempting at times in our culture just as it was in John's. We can't be "anti" Christ. Jesus is the Savior. This is the good news. Let's not mess with that.
Well, I am eager to read your comments, today, on this difficult passage. I suspect you will have much to share as well. Whether you comment or not, my hope and prayer is that God spoke to your dear heart as you met with Him!
My verses: (Today I had two!!) "1 John 2:27-28 "But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ."
My response: Father God, keep me in fellowship with You! Lord Jesus, help me by Your Spirit to walk each day yoked to You, doing the Father's will. Help me to be ready for Your return, eager to see You and fall at Your feet in adoration and joy!