10 July 2018

Welcome to Tuesday’s Podcast

Our reading today is 1 John 2:15-21 but today I’m focusing on v15. Please listen for the whole of today’s reading later in the podcast.

‘Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him’.

REFLECTION:

Let me ask a few more questions to set the scene:

20 years time? What do you want to do? Have done or become?

Ok, it’s early the morning and perhaps your sipping your morning coffee and not ready for such a question.

Let’s think about choices.

The truth is that choices are important. As Professor Dumbledore says in Harry Potter: “It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities…’

I heard this once: If you’re on a plane journey for every for every one degree you move from your set course – that equates to a shift of 92ft on the ground. In real terms that means this: If this happened on a flight from New York to LA the plane would land 40 miles out in the ocean.

A slight shift of direction. A chance in choices can mean we don’t arrive at our intended destination.

Where are you headed? Where am I headed? And I ask myself – am I making good choices?

Theologians like Thomas Aquinas, St John of the Cross and Peter Abelard talk of three temptations in life: ‘The world, the flesh and the devil.’

John in his letter is talking about the world. In the original language is says ‘cosmos’… specifically the use of cosmos here refers to materialism; systems of government and economics.

John has said in this gospel in 3:16 – ‘For God so loved the world… he sent Jesus’. He’s telling us to be watchful and about the influences of the world on our lives. To watch our choices. To see if like passive smokers we’re breathing in the world and culture around us.

If you’ve heard the phrase ‘in the world but not of the world’- taken from this passage (among others) precisely sums up what John is saying. We’re called to live in the world. Enjoy the world but know we’re not to be defined by it but under God’s hand do our bit to change it.

So how do we walk that tightrope – in but not of the world.

I’d say – let’s watch our choices. They’re powerful and reveal a huge amount.

Specifcally – make choices that mean we don’t drift.

For example, I have a friend who is also called John who after reflecting on why some passionate Christians had lost their fire for God. Stopped coming to church. He said it was just a gentle drift.

A slight shift, a gentle drift. Nothing dramatic – not always seen.

It’s so easily done: come to church less. Life is hectic so home group gets a squeeze. Bible reading is a challenge with small kids (believe me, I know)… all of these things – often not bad things just squeeze our spiritual lives.

So today, as we heed John’s wisdom about not ‘loving the world’ – as we reflect on our choices – what do they tell us?

PRAYER

Lord, by your spirit I pray you’ll highlight any area of drift in our lives. May you reset the right course in our lives.

Amen.

READING: 1 John 2:15-21

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives for ever.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.