“I was very glad to find some of your children walking in the truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father. So now I urge you, dear lady—not as if I were writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love.” 2 John 1:4-6
This walking stuff takes time. I have been blogging through the Bible for quite awhile now, and nearing the end of this journey will be bittersweet. The Christian life is not a sprint. Many start well with good intentions and plan to finish well, but often get sidetracked or disillusioned along the way. It would be far better to think of it as more like a marathon–a long-distance course that won’t always be easy, but will reap a reward when you are finished!
While this letter written by John is short and to the point, the author might seem to leave the interpretation up for discussion until you read it in its entirety. The world might look at this one command and be convinced that because the emphasis is on the fact that God is love, he is telling us that God is concerned only with loving and accepting everyone.
But love speaks truth.
In his first letter, John emphasized that if we love God, we will not “walk in darkness”, but “walk in the light as He Himself is the light.” (1 John 1:6) Light reveals what is true, and Jesus is the light that illuminates truth for us. John clarified this statement by saying that if we have come to know Him (Jesus) we will keep His commands, and “walk as He walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)
So how do we do that? How do we walk in love and truth at the same time?
“Little children, we must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18
If you are a parent, you know that one of the God-given responsibilities you are given is to teach your children right from wrong. While the world might be shouting that there are no absolutes, God’s Word provides clear direction for walking in truth. We can say we love God but if we aren’t spending time with him by praying and reading His Word, we aren’t really demonstrating to Him that we love him, are we? I want to encourage you to read your Bible. Seek Him. God promises to meet you right where you are. We cannot lead our children to The Light if we are walking in spiritual darkness ourselves.
Though John is not writing to young children here, we do need to appreciate that God often uses family analogies to teach us biblical principles. The term “God the Father” becomes a term of endearment when we become His child. We are adopted into God’s family (Galatians 4:4-6) when we repent of sin, “confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2), and commit to living our lives for Him.
“The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:12-13
Why am I spending so much time quoting 1 John when the Scripture Memory Challenge is for 2 John? Hang with me here. John wrote three letters, and they all tie together, just as the whole of Scripture does from the Old Testament to the New. All sixty-six books validate the truth of God’s story as you see the whole picture. From creation to Revelation, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. These words were inspired by God, written down by John and intended for more than one person.. but preserved for others–this lady included, who often needs a fresh reminder that I must walk in love. The kind of love God is talking about here is the type of love that speaks truth to a world that doesn’t want to hear it. As believers in God’s truth, we carry a great responsibility to speak it–even when it’s hard. Even when it’s rejected.
The greater commandment is love because when we truly love others, we will tell them the truth.
While God’s truth may seem like judgement to some, in reality it is a warning. God wants for us what is good and true and right. The judgement that many fear comes only from their own disobedience. When a child makes bad choices, our love compels us to warn them of coming dangers. That’s what our Heavenly Father does. He loves us, and He commands us to walk in love.
I may be walking slower these days, but I want to finish this marathon of life well. I pray that if I am remembered by my children and grandchildren for anything, it will be that I loved God and walked in that love. Loving them and loving others well. Because I am loved by my good, good Father, I want to say yes to Him, and walk as He walked–in love.
Won’t you join me in memorizing 2 John 1:6? Write it down. Take a little walk today and say it out loud. Walk. Repeat. Walk. Repeat. Remember this is a marathon…