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. 2 John 1:6
The beginning of 2 John, like John's other writings, emphasizes truth. He says in verse 2, "because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever." Truth, when translated in the Greek, is alētheia. Alētheia when translated literally means, "the state of not being hidden; the state of being evident" or objectively speaking, "what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man, moral and religious truth." As Christians, truth, is the Word of God who is God. It is not hidden. It is not something to have to be searched for... it is God. And God clearly gave us a road map for truth, His Word. What John is telling us here is that we are connected as Christians because of the truth that is Christ Jesus. Truth is what binds us together as believers. Without truth, we would not have grace and mercy and peace.
The Bible also tells us that God is love. In 1 John 4:7-21, we see that explained in detail (emphasis added):
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and
whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone
who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that
God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live
through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but
that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another,
God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because
he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify
that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides
in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to
believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever
abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this
is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for
the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear
has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been
perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar;
for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot
love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we
have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
So in 1 John, we see love very clearly explained and then we move over to 2 John and immediately read about truth in verses 1-3, then we have it... truth AND love, and walking in both.
If we love God then we will walk in obedience to His commands, his truth. Matthew 22 says this:
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus said that our first job is to love God and our second is to love our neighbor. How do we love our neighbor? By walking in the truth of Jesus. Real love is a heart for obedience because that is what Jesus showed us over and over again during his time on earth. Real love is walking so that others want to know the truth you have living inside of you.
Love can be an emotion, but that is not the love that John is talking about here. The love expressed on the pages of Scripture is a love so deep and rooted in obedience to God that it gave up it's life so that you and I might live.
So when you see in Scripture, hear in a podcast, or read in a book to walk in love or love one another, think about the graveness of that love. Think about the price of that love and realize that even in difficult times where no one seems to be able to agree, as Christians, we can be held together on the belief that God is love and His Word is true. So maybe before you hit send on that text or share on that post, think... is this love? Is this truth? Does this further the Kingdom of God? Am I binding together with the love of Jesus or am I causing division because of the desires of my flesh? Sometimes we have to meditate on Scripture and really dig into it to see what God is saying, but other times the words of Scripture are as clear as day. And if I am going to be honest, the bottom line is simple: love God and love people with the love of Christ. Read His Word and seek His praise. I know it is so much easier said than done, and it is something that I have to choose daily and still mess up on! But here is the thing, with this love comes grace, mercy, and peace. None of which we deserve, all of which we are given if we choose Jesus. So let's do this together this week, this whole walking in love thing. Keep your Bible out so that you can read it every day and keep that constant dialogue with Jesus going through prayer.
How will you walk in obedience this week?