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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” —2 John 1:9 (NKJV)
I’ve long admired the band U2 not only for their anthemic music, but also for the honesty in their lyrics. As self-professed Christians, the band artfully expresses its spiritual struggles that I’ve often identified with. For example, in one tender song titled, “In a Little While,” lead singer Bono gives voice to the seasons in life when our faith seems to waver easily between sin and repentance:
In a little while I won’t be blown by every breeze Friday night running To Sunday on my knees
While such admissions of frailty may strike a chord in us, unfortunately, they aren’t very reassuring. And as today’s verse illustrates, if we continually wrestle with applying godly principles to our lives, we may have some maturing and soul searching to do.
The apostle John wrote the verse above as part of a letter to warn a beloved woman and her family about false teachers who were preaching that Jesus did not come in the flesh. He urges them to continue to walk in love according to Christ’s commandments as they had been taught.
John uses the word “abide” twice in this verse, which in the Greek (menó) means “to stay, abide, and remain” and is equivalent to the word “persevere.” Strong’s Greek Dictionary renders it as “of him who cleaves, [or] holds fast to a thing.”
While we may encounter different doctrines or philosophies from people who suggest “all roads lead to heaven” or “I’ll get to heaven if I’m a good person,” we as Christians are to stick closely to Christ’s teaching and not deviate from it. In fact, today’s verse clearly says that without Christ, we don’t have God.
While the world may perceive the Bible as being dated, irrelevant, politically incorrect, foolish (1 Corinthians 1:23) or even offensive in what it teaches (1 Peter 2:8), we know that it is true. Ephesians 4:14 (NIV) challenges us to “no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” And if we want to grow up in our faith, then we need to keep God’s Word close to our hearts.
DIG: Do you sometimes question what you believe the Bible actually teaches, or do you find yourself drawn to “new” ideas that don’t exactly line up with Scriptures?
DISCOVER: If you’ve answered yes to either one of the above questions, then ask yourself: How regularly am I spending time in God’s Word and asking Him to help me apply its truths to my life? Is there a connection between my spiritual growth and the amount of time I spend getting to know the Bible?
DISPLAY: Ask God to reveal areas in your life where you may struggle with abiding in His teaching and to give you the wisdom and strength to follow Jesus and His Word consistently.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.