The beloved elder John wrote to My disciples because he deeply loved them and wanted them to find eternal life in me. His words to begin 3 John beautifully reveal this part of his heart:
I, the elder, to Gaius, who is much loved by all and loved in truth by me.
My beloved friend, I pray that everything is going well for you and that your body is as healthy as your soul is prosperous. I was thrilled when the brothers and sisters came and told me stories of your faithfulness as you continue to walk in the truth. The greatest joy in my life is hearing how my children are walking in the truth.
(3 John 1:1-4)
Each of John's three letters at almost the end of your Bibles is short, yet full of practical truth filled with John's genuine emotional connection to My disciples. John knew that his time was short. He knew the power of the "diabolical one"
. He knew that the allure of the corrupted world was pervasive.
Like Paul and Peter before him, John left words for My precious disciples urging them to stay on the right path. He warned them about being a stumbling block to others. He wanted them to demonstrate their love for Me in the way they lived. He wanted My disciples to follow My example of obedient love for the Father, compassion for those around Me, and moral purity in My dealings with all people.
John urges these disciples to live faithfully through a series of encouragements and warnings that he repeated throughout his short letter of 1 John. As his chosen themes combine and repeat, working their way through his short letter, My beloved disciple gives you the truth on how to live in any age. His simple words serve as a necessary warning about the dangers of falling in love with the broken and sinful world. They remind My disciples of the importance of loving the truth, loving Me, and loving their brothers and sisters.
Today you finish your readings in 1, 2, and 3 John. Hear John's simple but powerful message as My will expressed through this faithful old apostle. Recognize this message as an important reminder preparing you for our coming journey into the book of Revelation.
The world around you is broken. There is beauty in the created universe, but everything that humanity has touched has also been stained by sin's grip on your world. Don't be deceived by the world's allure! Remember all that it offers you is temporary. The world can offer only a broken and temporary substitute for the eternal life I have shared with you.
Don't be surprised when the world doesn't love you when you live for me:
Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us — He calls us children of God! It's true; we are His beloved children. And in the same way, the world didn't recognize Him, the world does not recognize us either.
(1 John 3:1)
Brothers and sisters, don't be shocked if the corrupt world despises you.
(1 John 3:13)
Even more, John doesn't want you to get caught up in loving the world and being led away from Me. His words are true. His words are your warning. Don't trade away the life I came to bring you for the temporary, fleeting, and corrupted enticements of the world!
Take a few minutes and look up all the times the word "world"
is used in John's writings — the Gospel of John; 1, 2, and 3 John; and Revelation. The world, corrupted and lost, is a major theme for John. Not loving the things of this world was one of John's primary concerns. The following verses can help you understand why John had these concerns. Contemplate his words. Heed them. Realize that I came to bring life to you. The underlined sentences at the end of today's verses point out the contrast between the fleeting, temporary nature of the allures of your world and the eternal life that comes from doing God's will. All the world's enticements are really only cheap, fleeting, and shallow substitutes for the true life I long to give you.
Don't fall in love with this corrupt world or worship the things it can offer. Those who love its corrupt ways don't have the Father's love living within them. All the things the world can offer to you — the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority — do not come from the Father. These are the rotten fruits of this world. This corrupt world is already wasting away, as are its selfish desires. But the person really doing God's will — that person will never cease to be.
(1 John 2:15-17)
Give me strength, dear Father, to resist the allure of the world. I know in my heart that it is a poor and deadly substitute for the life that You have given me in Jesus. Sometimes, dear Father, the ridicule of those who don't believe and the enticements of this world do distract me and lead me away from a whole-hearted dedication to you. Please forgive me. Sometimes my losses in this world have captured all of my energy in grief, anger, and confusion. Please strengthen and reclaim me. I know my world is broken, but it is the world I know. So please help me be strong as I keep my eyes on Jesus and seek His life and not the world's shallow substitutes. It is in His name I pray. Amen.