Grace to you and Merry Christmas!
How do we know we know Jesus as Lord and God? 1 John 2 has at least seven indicators.
First, “If we keep his commandments” (1 Jn 2:3).
Second, if we love our neighbor, for “He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and in it there is no cause for stumbling” (1Jn 2:9-10).
Third, another sign we know God according to 1 John is if we do not love the world or the things in the world (I Jn 3:15). I would explain this sign in details after listing the other four.
Fourth, we love the truth and reject falsehood since we know the truth (1Jn 2:21).
Fifth, we reject the antichrist (1 Jn 2:23), seen here as the one who denies God the Father and God the Son. (1 Jn 2:23).
Six, abiding in God and continuing in Him (1 Jn 2:27; 28). It isn’t a one-time thing.
Seven, doing right, which is a sign of being born of Christ (1 Jn 2:29).
Here are a few more thoughts on the third indicator: namely, “not loving the world.” What is wrong about loving the world? What is it about the world that Jesus would pray to the Father about us not being of the world (see Jn 17:16)? Once St. Paul wrote believers (Romans), reminding them not to conform to the world (Rm 12:2).
The world we are not to love doesn’t seem to me like the geographical space called the earth or the cosmos. Jesus meant geographical location when he said “you are in the world.” Being “not of the world” seems to me to refer to a worldly worldview, which is any worldview that is based only on material things.
A worldly worldview sees life in terms of what is material. It does not believe in the spiritual or supernatural. It’s in tandem with what 1 Jn 2:16 describes as “lust of the flesh”, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Lust of the flesh makes us crave only for what satisfies our body. It sees self-control and those qualities that are spiritually obsolete. In addition, it tries to avoid all pains and evade the cross.
The lust of the flesh also does not respect integrity in sexual relationships. It is like a wild animal let loose.
The lust of the eye could be said to be a code word for those cravings that come through our eyes, and imaginations that do not make us good people. Greed or avarice is one of them. Let’s be clear about this: worldly things are not evil in themselves; it is the lust of them to the detriment of God, morality and our neighbor that is evil.
The final thought is the pride of life, which is another way of saying self-centeredness, or in modern terms, narcissism.
Hence, we know we love God and know God if we are not worldly; if the good things of this world do not make or become our ultimate aspirations.
Questions for prayerful reflection: “What is my treasure in life? In what do I find my ultimate affection and love?
Questions such as these, I suppose, are important as we make our New Year resolutions.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[6th Day in Christmas Octave: 1 John 2:12-17; Lk 2:36-40]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations this Advent Season.