Daily Devotion 08 May 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

1 John 2:15-17 and 5:21 ‘Loving the Right Things’

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; 16 for all that is in the world – the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches – comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

When I was young our family holidays were spent with my aunt and uncle at their Rectory in Dorset. The village fete, held in the large Rectory garden, always took place during our summer stay and each year I saved up my meagre pocket-money for ages beforehand to spend at the same sideshow. It was the greasy pole and whoever managed to walk from one end to the other would win themselves a real live piglet. For some reason I had a great longing for a piglet of my own but despite the bruises I sported for weeks afterwards from my falls from the pole, I never managed to reach the further end and so never won my piglet. It was just as well because had I succeeded I would definitely not have been allowed to take a piglet home to urban Liverpool – a fact that never occurred to me in my determined efforts to win one!

We can too often aim for the wrong things in our lives without realizing it; we can love the wrong things, be fascinated by the wrong things. We might find the verses above confusing – St. John seems to warn us against loving the world. He can’t mean the world as created by God, it’s not this earth we’re supposed to reject and certainly we are not supposed to hate people, so what does he mean? Sometimes we can love the world around us in a way that draws our hearts away from God and I think this is what St. John is talking about.

Something is fundamentally wrong if we can’t talk to people about Jesus with the kind of passion and enthusiasm we have when we talk about our children and grandchildren, or perhaps about a TV programme, or football, or a book. The passions we invest in other things should be directed to Jesus – to direct them elsewhere can become idolatrous. The warning above of 1 John 2:15-17 corresponds beautifully to the final verse of 1 John (5:21) which says, ‘Little children, keep yourselves from idols’. An idol is anything we make bigger than God himself. It could be our leisure, pastime, hobby, or special interest in sports or arts or music – it could even be the work we do for the Lord. If we allow anything to become more important to us than God, it takes over and God becomes secondary. But God must always come first.

So we should ask ourselves, “Is anything more important to me than God?” If it is, then it’s an idol and should be taken down. We must examine our hearts and get on our knees before the Lord. We need to seek forgiveness and ask him to show us areas of sin in our lives. Those areas won’t be when we’re loving the beauty of God’s world or the people of the world, but they will be when we’re loving things in the world more than we’re loving God.

Prayer:

Father God,
Help us we pray to love you,
as we are commanded:
with all our heart, and with all our soul,
and with all our mind, and with all our strength.
May we never love the things of this world more than we love you.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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