II John Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson
Please read this chapter before you read this devotional (we urge you to always read the Scripture first).
What two words stand out to you? The first one is easy because the occurrences begin in vs. 1-4. The second word occurs a bit later, first appearing in v. 1 and the second time in v. 5. And these two words placed side by side are not what most people would combine. For most worldly people, these words may not seem to reside together comfortably. Rather freedom, choice, my way, etc. is associated with love. Truth tends to be rational, impersonal, non-relational, and separated from loving relationships.
Yet, the Bible is extremely relational. The essence of our faith is a relationship with God. Christ brings us into a kingdom in relationship with others. There are no Lone Ranger Christians. We live in relationship to others under the headship of Christ. So the Bible perfectly combines truth and love. Notice these verses. V. 1 – whom I love in truth . . . but also all who know the truth.” V. 4 “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth. There can be no love without truth. There can be no Christianity without love.
This is also what John wrote in his gospel 1:14, “14 And the Word became flesh . . . full of grace and truth.” This also perfectly describes all the apostles and especially Paul who write to the church at Ephesus, “speaking the truth in love. . . . (Eph 4:15)
Peter commands us to have “brotherly love” in I Pt. 3:8. Or the next chapter, same verse,” 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Peter ends his first letter with, “Greet one another with the kiss of love.”
This concern for truth and love is true for the Bible as a whole. Both are critical and both are necessary. God cares about the truth because He is a God of truth Is 45:19, “I the LORD speak the truth; Jn 14:7 “the Spirit of truth; and He is a God of love as Nehemiah knew, “But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, Neh 9:17.
This union of truth and love highlights the beauty in Christianity. Knowing God is not merely believing in truth. Neither is knowing God simply loving everyone. Knowing God is both believing the truth and loving others. I suppose you, like me, tend toward one or the other. For me, it is been truth. Curiously as I have gotten older, I have realized the value of love and how important love is. Today I listened to a song by Randy Newman, “Feels Like Home” which is a beautiful song. It made me think about how universal human love is and how important love is. We yearn for and need love. His music hit me with such force because of the raw honesty and the universality of his experience. Newman writes,
“If you knew how much this moment means to me
And how long I’ve waited for your touch
If you knew how happy you are making me
I never thought that I’d love anyone so much
It feels like home to me”
The love the Bible offers is deeper, more fulfilling, and so much more satisfying. I spoke with someone today who told me of the loneliness this person feels after the loss of their spouse. I felt such sorrow. So what can I offer? What we offer the world is not merely Christian fellowship based on truth but a love that is with us in our tears, our loss, those long nights crying out to God and the ache one feels in once-in-a-lifetime tragedy. God’s love will never end. His love never disappoints. And His truth will never be found to be false or misleading.
Oh, what pleasures we can have now here in this life. Yet that is incomparable to the joy, love, and pleasure we will experience in eternity. There is beauty to ravish the soul and His name is Jesus Christ. May you experience His undying love for you as you walk in His truth.