THE ‘LET’ OF LENT – Friday, March 12th
Read 1 John 3:1-7.
Little children, let no one deceive you.
Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
1 John 3:7 (NRSV)
In this passage, John is writing to churches in conflict because of false teachings. This excerpt from Sermon Writer explains a bit more…
Truth is important. Jesus said, “The truth will make you free” (John 8:32). The opposite is also true. Living according to untrue principles can rob people of their freedom. Apparently the false teachers have taught that doing what is right is unnecessary… But John takes the other side. To be righteous and worthy of fellowship with Christ, we need to practice righteousness––not just give it lip service.1
Our spiritual invitation for today is to Let no one deceive us as we strive to live a righteous life.
Let no one deceive us? How does one do this? Finding real truth in our world can be challenging, with the abundant and conflicting information provided by so many sources of news, social media, and even conspiracy theorists. In a similar way, the Bible offers all sorts of conflicting messages, stories that are difficult to believe, and even words we would rather not consider. What should we believe? How might we discern the truths we are to live out? How do we live righteously?
Some biblical passages will most likely remain a mystery to me; part of my living in faith is learning to be at peace with that mystery, to acknowledge that God and God’s purposes are sometimes beyond my understanding. But a few years ago, Pastor Michael talked about biblical truth in our group study session. One point that has stayed with me is that we can first strive to live by the eternal truths – those words that will make sense, ring solid and true, and foster goodness and love – throughout all of time.
We can claim such verses as “(nothing…) will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35), or “Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11), or “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) as eternal truths. We can understand and trust the words that reflect the loving goodness of God and our role in sharing that goodness.
When the meanings or intentions of other verses are less clear, we can examine these words in light of the time and culture of the writings. We can glean lessons and insights by seeing the symbolism of words, or find subtle or deeper meanings in the stories passed along. We can read and learn more about the history and the intent of the books that were compiled for the Bible. I especially love learning about the symbolism in some of the hard-to-believe stories that help me make sense of their meaning and purpose.
Most of all, we have the Spirit to guide our reading, to reveal what we are to know, and to live accordingly. The Spirit will always guide us to love, serve, trust, hope, learn, pray – and yes, discern – what is our righteous truth for living. The Spirit serves as our trustworthy source of truth for these ever-changing and often confusing times. Always.
May we let the Spirit guide us in our understanding and discernment, so that we may live righteously in eternal truth and love.
Our reading for Monday will be Matthew 20:29-34.
11 John 3:1-7 – Sermon Writer, Copyright 2017, Richard Niell Donovan
Photo by isaac sloman on Unsplash
Bible verses taken from https://classic.biblegateway.com
Karen, I’m grasping the simple yet profound wisdom of “Live by the eternal truths,” as Pastor Michael advised… don’t get bogged down in harder-to-understand biblical/religious stuff causing us to diminish or dismiss all of it. Rather, live that which is essential and obvious, in a word: LOVE and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit. ‘Let’ Christ’s Spirit guide, reveal, strengthen.
The work you are putting in on these devotionals is a wonderful gift for all of us reading.
Well said, my friend – live by what is essential and obvious! LOVE this. Thank you for sharing your additional thoughts, for they bless me so much.
You are kind and encouraging, always. Thank you!
Gotta chime in on this one:) What I’ve been trying to say to you but never quite found the right words…til now. cfossumm66 says it perfectly and I am so grateful for her. For the most part trying to understand biblical & spiritual stuff exhausts me…mentally, physically and spiritually. (I have a very inquisitive brain but it can only be stretched so far!!) More times than I care to admit it, that drain causes me to just give up..at least for a (long?) while. On the other side of that scenario is reading what You write. I enjoy it because you have a true gift. Your words are honest, essential and told in a way that is to the point yet simple to understand. I love learning new things…even at this age. I can honestly say that I learn something new from you most every day, no matter the discussion. Thank you, most of all, for using those unique writing skills God gave you to help grow his kingdom. And also for just being you and letting your true self shine through.
Wow, my dear friend, thank you so much for this. I know that I often wrestle and wonder… and pray for understanding. I continue to learn, too.
Isn’t God SO good? Every time we read or reflect, we are able to learn something new, we can be invited to grow in new ways. You bless me so. Thanks again.