Take a short walk around while listing things you thank God for. Sometimes doing it in a rhythm can be helpful, for example every fourth step saying the thing you’re thankful for. (i.e. step… step… step… “clean water,” step… step… step… “Mom,” step… etc.)
2. Set Aside
We often come to God with many things filling our minds—worries, to-do’s, can’t-forget-that’s, fears, etc. Take a minute and allow these things to come to mind. As each thing comes to mind, mentally place it in a gift box and give it to God. Ask him to keep it until the end of your devotion time, and to only give back what he wants to. This will allow you to really focus on your time in the Word.
Read through the passage (1 John 2:7-27 below) a few times slowly.
4. The New Commandment
- What is the old/new commandment?
- How does hatred disguise itself? (i.e. indifference, …?)
- Ask God who you are harboring hatred against. Whatever name(s) comes to mind, thank God for showing this to you. Ask for forgiveness, and think and pray through a way to make it right.
- Ask God where you need to grow in loving others.
- What does it mean to abide in the light?
5. Stages of Growth
- Do you consider yourself a child, father, or young man spiritually? How do you feel about this?
- Do you feel you are putting your childlike faith, strength, or years of experience and wisdom to some spiritual use?
- Take some time reflecting the “because you” statements in 12-14 back to God in praise and supplication.
- What words are repeated here? What does that emphasize?
- Things in the world work towards making man better off, but not better. Sit in silence and ask God which ways you’ve sought after being better off rather than being better. Repent of these, then ask God to fill your heart with desire for Him.
- Reflect on what these mean, both in general and to you personally:
a. The desires of the flesh
b. The desires of the eyes
c. Pride of life
In what ways are they a temptation to you? What can you do about this?
- We usually believe that we think much more Biblically than we really do. Reflect on your thinking habits throughout the day. Do they follow more the world or God our Father?
a. Think of your standard for success: is it worldly or godly? Would you consider the martyr Stephen a success? The apostle Paul? Jesus’ mother Mary?
b. Think of your standard for what makes a person of the opposite sex appealing: is it worldly or godly?
c. Think of your standard for spirituality: is it worldly or godly?
- What are the eternal things you are in daily contact with? How can you invest more time, attention, and expense into these things that pay eternal rewards?
- Who do we encounter who tries to deceive us? After reading this passage, how might we react differently?
- “Anti” from “antichrist” doesn’t necessarily mean the “opposite of Jesus,” but “instead of Jesus.” Reflect on this and its meaning for our world and your life.
- How do we abide—preserve our relationship with God?
- How do we make sure we are letting what you heard from the beginning abide in you?
- What are the things that God gives us as mentioned in this passage?
Sit with God, holding the things you’ve gleaned from the passage.
The New Commandment
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father.
14 I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
Do Not Love the World
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Warning Concerning Antichrists
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[d] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life.
26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
(a) 1 John 2:8 Or that
(b) 1 John 2:10 Or it
(*) I John 2:12, 13 John uses different words for “little children” in verses 12 and 13 (teknia and paidia, respectively). Teknia has more of an emphasis on a child’s relationship of dependence on a parent, while paidia has more of an emphasis on a child’s immaturity and need for instruction.
(c) 1 John 2:16 Or pride in possessions
(d) 1 John 2:20 Some manuscripts you know everything
(e) 1 John 2:25 Some manuscripts you