2 John

It’s a rather short letter, but even before I read it I know there will be something worthwhile within it for me today.    That’s how I always want to approach my devotions!Read 2 John
Having read through this several times (which is easier since it’s so short) I have two thoughts: First, that we are to love.  Love God and love each other.   And secondly, we are to be obedient…which is an outworking of our love.    So really, there is only one commandment…to love God.   If we love God we will be obedient, and we will love others because He has commanded us to do so.     We don’t love others because they are wonderful and cuddly and naturally draw us in….we love because we are directed to do so.
Love and attraction are two completely different things, I think.  Attraction is immediate and temporary and love takes longer to develop and is more permanent.   Too many people confuse the two, and end up saying “I fell out of love” or “we don’t love each other any more”.  Maybe it was only attraction in the first place.    I think people are “attracted” to Jesus.  They like the idea of community and forgiveness and grace….and those things are attractive….until you serve long enough to be challenged with sacrifice and service and longsuffering….by then you better have made the switch from attraction to love or you won’t endure.
So, it’s probably inaccurate to say that we “love” the lost or the homeless, or the people who create all sorts of difficulty in our lives….unless we have known them for some time.   To be more accurate, we should realize that we serve and relate to those who are not attractive because we love Jesus, with whom we have a personal, long standing relationship.     Perhaps we will end up loving those who society holds at arms length…..in the meantime it’s our love for Christ that compels us forward.
I’m not sure what the false teachers were saying that would have prompted John to speak in this way.   Whatever it was, it was in violation of the written Word.  It’s interesting that John (who identifies himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”) chooses to remind us that obedience and love go hand in hand.    We cannot say that we love God if we don’t obey what he tells us.    And, we cannot accept the teaching of people who claim to love God but do not teach in complete compliance with what the Bible says.