Day 11

Walk in Love

from the 1, 2, and 3 John reading plan

2 John 1:1-13, John 8:31-32, 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

It’s one of the memorable scenes in John Bunyan’s classic work, The Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian and Hopeful are traveling The Way that leads to the Celestial City. The path is soft and conveniently located next to the River of Life, until a bend in The Way leads them onto rough terrain that’s hard on their feet.

After miles of hard going, the wearied and discouraged pilgrims spy a softer path: Bypath Meadow. It’s a path that runs close to The Way, and they assume it will merge with The Way at some place down the road, probably when the going gets easier.

Wishful thinking.

It doesn’t take long before Christian and Hopeful discover that Bypath Meadow is more like a trap than a path. After a series of difficulties including storms, floods, and worst of all, capture and torture at the hands of Giant Despair, Christian and Hopeful narrowly escape from the dungeon of Doubting Castle. They learned the hard way this truth from Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way to death.”

In 2 John, the Apostle rejoices that some are still “walking” according to the truth. But that note of encouragement is dampened by the reality that a number of former disciples have fallen away. The sirens of the antichrist (1 John 4:13, 2 John 7) have wooed them into running ahead down Bypath Meadow, and they have completely lost sight of The Way (2 John 9, John 14:6).

At this point, we might half expect John to command this fledgling church to immediately start a rigorous Bible reading program or establish a theological training institute. Clearly these people don’t know the truth, and greater knowledge of Scripture can be a course corrective for those veering onto a dangerous path (2 Timothy 3:16). Right?

But that’s not what John says.

Maybe we’d expect John to build the walls of the church a little higher. Add a bunch of new rules about who gets in, launch a new accountability plan, and put new policies in place.

But that’s not what John says either.

What does John say then? One thing: love one another (2 John 5-6). No amped up Bible instruction or added rules. Just “love one another.” This may sound strange at first, but John is seeing to the source of many of our bypath blunders. He sees that down deep our waywardness is very often a result of a spiritual restlessness that arises when our communal bonds of love are weak or lost altogether. When we do not have a loving, “stick-together” community watching out for us, we drift onto bypasses that wind up leading to dead ends and disasters.

The gate is narrow and the path is difficult that leads to life (Matthew 7:13). Don’t go at it alone. Find a Hopeful to walk with you. You’ll need him. And he’ll need you.

Written By Nate Shurden 

Post Comments (4)

4 thoughts on "Walk in Love"

  1. Drew S says:

    John is encouraging us to walk in love. We are able to walk in love because we walk with God and Jesus. We’re able to show this love because they first loved us. Grace, mercy, peace and truth are the foundation of this love that God has grown inside of us to give to the world. We can help plant seeds in others, but ultimately it’s our Father who will make that love grow.

  2. Sean Morecraft says:

    Love is what binds the church together. Love for Christ and love for each other. Without love we drift farther and farther away from deep community.
    We also see that love is a requirement for showing a genuine faith (1 Cor. 13:1-3). One of the best ways to see if one is a Christian is by he love that exudes from them. Love binds us. Love fuels us. Love causes us to be like Christ.
    Let’s try to follow Christ’s example of love. He left the glory of being the King of the earth. He took a lowly, human form and lived among us on the earth. The King dwelt among the peasants. He showed love to all he came across, and gave himself to die in order to save those that would call upon His name for the glory of His name. He is a loving God that doesn’t leave us in the pit of despair but raises us to life. He is the God who, by His love and power, calls us to Himself and unites many diverse people in the world. What a love. What a God!

  3. Kevin says:

    Day 11: “you must walk in love”. God wants us to succeed in loving others and ultimately glorifying him. He lays it out pretty plainly on how to do that. It all starts with Love. How are you going to show love today?

  4. Sam Stoddard says:

    It’s an odd time in the church. The church seems to be divided into two camps that rage endless civil war upon one another. The battlefield is littered with bodies of broken people, hurt people. When someone is gruesomely slain in this war, they lie bleeding on the field of battle contemplating God and the Gospel. Many times, far too many times, they will get up, shed their armor and drop their sword, letting both splash into the bloody mud. They will walk away from the field and from the church all together.
    The church is in a civil war over love. One side loves too much and the other loves too little. Both love incorrectly. It’s an odd time. A painful time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *