The Disciplines Of Disciples

I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one. Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.    1 John 2: 12-17

John is most likely describing the  whole community with the ” children, fathers and young men” references. The fathers being the priests or church leaders, the children being the flock and the young men are those being trained to replace the “fathers” someday. He is exhorting them to continue in what they have received, for this is how they “conquer the evil one.” (v. 12-14)

Loving this world or the things of this world are contrary to the love of the Father, therefore they cannot co-exist. In other words, we need to prioritize, putting God first in our lives, then family and then community matters. We are not to be driven by the things that want to take hold of us. But driven by our love for God.

“The lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life” is a more literal translation of verse 16. First, note how “personal” these are. The lust of the flesh is an immoderate desire for physical (or self) gratification, everything  from the sexual, to gluttony. The “whatever feels good, do it” mentality. The lust of the eyes is the act of covetousness itself, and this leads us into the spiritual acts of sin. As the” eye is the lamp of the body” (Matt.6:22), so is our heart desensitized to the things we allow to enter them. Thirdly, the pride of life, is the arrogance with which we live our lives, willfully independent from God and from others.

This is why spiritual discipline is so critical. Without it, it is like being placed behind enemy lines with no clear objective. And John, in his letter, is trying to give us this clear objective. Through forgiveness, knowledge, strength, remaining in God’s word, these are the ways we conquer the evil one. These are continual acts on our part in seeking God’s will for each of our lives.

So this week, let us resolve to spiritually discipline ourselves. Through repentance for forgiveness, for knowledge through the Holy Spirit, strength through prayer, and reading and studying God’s word daily. Go to a week day Mass. Let God know He means more to you than anything else.

In doing all these things, we will have conquered the evil one….this week.


2 Responses

  1. Hello.

    I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in America, our entire society is sadly lacking in disciples. I’m afraid this extends to many of the disciples in our churches also.

    Thank you for this reminder to disciplines ourselves.

    Blessings to you and yours,

    Shirley Buxton

    Thanks for the comment. I believe you are right in what you say, it has been my experience as well.We must ALL, get to the point where we love God, more than anything we see, hear, taste, smell or touch. Then maybe, just maybe, we’ll allow God’s Spirit to change the world through His church, like He did in the early first century.
    His blessings to all.

  2. Sorry, the ending word in my post should be discipline, but disciples. (Tricky words when you’re using them a lot close together, I suppose. :))

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