Monday, September 21, 2020


 Consider the quality of love God has bestowed on us that we are named children of God.  Thus we are!  And just as the world does not know or understand, much less have a relationship with Him, we do!  

Beloved, we are God's children, in more than name.  It is our destiny, though he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears.  We do know we will be like him because we will truly see him as he really is.

This being our expectation, we will keep ourselves pure, just as he is pure.

1 John 3:1-3

Purity - a set apart set of behaviors.  What does it mean to put away distractions and prepare for Jesus' presence?  Purity seems hard to pursue:  pulling away from the world's demands, preparing to enter the presence of Jesus.  

The Jews would do outward exercises.  Oils and teas?  Water and soap?  What stripping and anointing will cause me to be pure?  I first thought evil was the problem, but maybe busyness is the real problem.  Distractions.  Shiny things. Worry.  The world's agenda.

Is it about strictness and censure or an awakening that causes all worldly attachments to fall away?  

This makes me think of Step 11 of the Twelve Steps:  Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

Conscious contact.  An awakening to the presence of God in all things and the possibility of the Kingdom of Heaven to be present now.  Of all the things I have ever been in pursuit, this is the hardest.  In some ways, it is less tangible than worldly pursuits.  In other ways, it is the greatest reality to which I can hold.  Conscious contact.  Get "woke" to the possibility that I can be prepared to seek Christ in this day and in his future coming.  Might I miss the coming if I haven't sought it in the day I hold?

To seek out purity is to stay "woke" to the truth of the coming King.  All other worldly matters are either vehicles to ride into his presence or be discarded.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020


Don't fall in love(1) with this corrupt world or worship the things it offers.  Those who love its corrupt ways don't have the Father's love(2) living in them.  These do not come from the Father:

     the allure of pleasure (the lust(3) of the flesh(4))

     the passion to have things (the lust of the eyes(5))

     pompous superiority (pride (6)of life (7)).                                         1 John 2:15-17

I think the original language has a lot to teach us here, so I've highlighted certain words.  Let me explain:

Don't fall in love (1) - agapao - to love in a social or moral sense; to welcome or entertain; to be content with.  This world is not enough for you.  You are made for something more than it has to offer.  Don't attach to lesser things, lesser parts of who you are.

The Father's love (2) - agape - connected to a person, this word now is a noun - affection, goodwill, family love.  With the descriptor of "Father," love now is a give and take, relationship-based affection.

Lust (3) of the flesh (4) - Lust - ephithmyia - desire, craving especially for what is forbidden.  Flesh - sarx - this is not the body literally but the sinful response of people which leads them away from God.  "Sensual" might be a better term.  Peter describes it well:  "fleshly (sarx) desire (epithymia) by sensuality (aselgeia)."  2Peter 2:2)  The sense that it is the unbridled demands of lasciviousness and wantonness:  out of control, even to the point of addictive-type behaviors. ("I couldn't stop myself.")  It is not our senses and desires, except when hijacked, when  good sense and godly directives become driving forces.  Kind of like the difference between eating and gluttony, sex and pornography, anger (not a sin, you know) and rage, even need and want.  

Lust of the eyes (5) - ophthalmos - metaphorically, the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing - focusing.  What you attach to, find alluring.

Pride (6) of life (7) - Pride - alazoneia - bragging, arrogance which trusts in its own power especially over divine laws and human rights; an empty presumption.  Life - bios - the course of life; that by which life is sustained, its goods and resources.  Might have an emphasis of "personal trust in how a person's life is resourced by self."

Essentially, this world should not be held in higher regard than the eternal Kingdom, which we are called to recognize and live into even in the present.  As we seek Kingdom presence and ways, as we realize in its realities our needs on earth will be met in a deeper and continual fashion.  We are to seek that Kingdom - zeteo - crave it!  Desire it first!