I remember my dad telling me that I would better understand God’s definition of love after I had children of my own. As a teenager, I thought I knew love. After all, I loved my friends, my car, and rock ‘n’ roll. But my dad was talking about a love that abounds regardless of how you feel, regardless of how you succeed or fail, or how often you follow or break the rules.
He was right. When I had my son, I understood. But
you don’t have to become a parent to know love. If you’ve truly experienced the grace of God’s love through Jesus, the truth of his love compels you to follow his command to love one another.
- What do you see as the relationship between truth and love?
READ THE WORD: 2 JOHN 1:1-6 (ESV)
1:1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.
4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- In verse 2, describe what John’s use of the term “truth” means.
- Verse 3 solidifies the characterization of Jesus Christ as “the Father’s Son.” Why was this important, particularly at this time? Why is it still important today?
- In verse 6, John defined love in a different way than we typically see it defined. In your own words, how did John characterize what love is, or more specifically what love does?
- John said that God commands us to “walk in love.” What does it look like for a person to walk in love?
- According to John’s definition in this passage, do you love well? Why or why not?
RESPOND TO GOD
Truth and love are recurrent themes throughout John’s writings. And while they seem simple enough, our society entreats us to place value in self, ambition, pride, greed, and independence, preventing many of us from following God’s commandment to walk in the light of what love really is. True love is obedience. The results of this obedience are compassion, giving without condition, caring without prejudice, listening to and accepting people. John shows us again the truth about God’s love and the way in which he commands us to obediently live. We can love one another because God loves us.
- Thank God for the example of love he freely gave us through his son Jesus Christ.
- Ask God to show you specific ways that you can walk in love.