Things of This World

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

 

According to the Life Application Study Bible regarding this particular scripture: Some people think that worldliness is limited to external behavior – the people we associate with, the places we go, the activities we enjoy. Worldliness is also internal because it begins in the heart and is characterized by three attitudes:

1. sensual lust – trying to get our physical desires met outside the will of God

2. enticement for the eyes – coveting and accumulating things, bowing to the god of materialism

3. a pretentious life – obsession with one’s status or importance

By contrast, God values self-control, a spirit of generosity, and a commitment to humble service. It is possible to give the impression of avoiding worldly pleasures while still harboring worldly attitudes in one’s heart. It is also possible to love sinners and spend time with them while maintaining a commitment to the values of God’s kingdom.

Fit in your Faith Today: What do you value the most? Do you spend most of your time obsessing over worldly things? The things that you can’t take with you after you’re gone? Or do you spend most of your time valuing the most important things in life – generosity, spreading good, humbleness and self control?

 

Back on Track

1 John 1:1-4

Beloved:
What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us—
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

According to Life Application Study Bible: First John was written by John, one of Jesus’ original 12 disciples. He had a special relationship with Jesus. The main problem confronting the church at the time this letter was written was declining commitment. Many believers were conforming to the world’s standards, failing to stand up for Christ and compromising their faith.  (Sound familiar to today?)

False teachers were everywhere and they were accelerating the church’s downward slide away from the Christian faith.  John wrote this letter to put believers back on track and to show the difference between light and darkness and to encourage the church to grow in genuine love for God and for one another. He also wrote to assure true believers that they possessed eternal life and to help them know that their faith was genuine – so they could enjoy all the benefits of being God’s children.

Can you relate to the motivation that John used to write this letter? He was trying to spread love, not hate. He tried to get people out of the darkness of evil by shedding light upon them. This entire introduction to First John can definitely be applied to our world today. How many times do you turn on the tv and see the “darkness?” It can be hard to avoid all the bad news and evil that seems to flood the news channels and newspaper headlines.

We can stay on track and remember that light will overshadow the dark. Truth will reign supreme over false testimony. Good will prevail over evil. How? By being a witness to the light that John writes about in this letter. Remember that Christians back then even had doubt. They were giving in to the false teachers and forgetting about their Father in heaven. Don’t let yourself fall away from Christ, even in the toughest of times. Even when it seems like everyone around you is stuck in a bad place. Come back to the light and to the fellowship with God.

Fit in Your Faith Today: Look for the light in the darkest of places today. It may be in your own heart or someone you love who is struggling with an addiction, or a destructive habit, or someone who has just fallen into the darkness. Help them (or yourself if it’s you!) to get back to where the light shines bright.

Be Like St. John the Baptist

Most people probably don’t think they could possibly be like a saint. They might not describe themselves as being very holy or good or sin-free. But you can be saintly, everyday.

There is a light inside all of us. And each day you have an opportunity to show people that light. For some, it’s barely lit. For others, it’s burned out. But for most, it’s shining as bright as the sun.

To be like a saint, in particular like John the Baptist, you can prepare the way for something (or someone) good to enter someone’s heart. Especially to those whose light is barely shining.

How?

  • Recognize they are hurting, perhaps depressed, bitter, or lonely. Don’t make it about you and your feelings, remember it’s about them.
  • Steer conversations to how they are feeling, what they are doing to get better. Make them do most of the talking.
  • Your role is a listener. Listen as the saints listened. They were silent when God spoke to them. Be that good listener and hear the words your friend is speaking.
  • Show them your light by taking them to lunch. Buy them a small thoughtful gift. Something even as small as a smile and a “How are you doing today?” can mean the world to someone who feels like there is no one they can talk to.
  • The sense of touch can make all the difference. A simple hug/embrace may sound like nothing. And maybe it’s even a little uncomfortable for people who aren’t used to affection. But even a friendly gesture like a hug can brighten someone’s day.

After you leave your friend, you’ll have shown them some of your light. You can be like the saints and like St. John the Baptist and prepare the way for Christ to enter his or her heart. It may seem like no big deal on the outside, but on the inside, that friend is grateful and transformed. And you can say that YOU helped make it happen.

Fit in Your Faith Today: Seek out that person that needs a saint in their life and show them that light inside of you.

Are YOU the one that needs a saint?  Hold that mirror up to yourself and ask what you can do personally to become like the saints. Prepare the way for Jesus to come into YOUR life.