THINK: Though the ability to love comes from God, people certainly can exercise love for others without knowing God or being devoted to His Word. People who do this are essentially placing love, acceptance, friendship, and good works above the truth and commands of God. On the other hand, it is also possible for people in the church to promote Biblical truth and defend the Bible's teachings, yet not show active love and compassion for others. But this is not showing a true love for God himself. What God requires is that we demonstrate both love for His truth and love for others. If our love for God is authentic, our love for others should be evident.
RESPOND: Why did John refer to himself as "the elder" (v. 1)? (See Introduction to 2 John.) Who or what is "the chosen lady"? (See 1:1 second note.) According to verse 2, how can we know "the truth"? How does being committed to the truth of God's Word enable us to love others more deeply? Why and in what way must devotion to God's truth and love for others go together? (See 1:1 third note.) What are the conditions for continuing to live in God's grace, mercy and peace? (See 1:3 note.) What happens if a church fails to do these things? What is the command we've had from the beginning (v. 5)? (See John 13:34-35 notes.) How does John define or describe love in verse 6? (See John 14:21 note.) Why is obedience to God inseparable from true love for God? What did the "deceivers" refuse to acknowledge? (See 1:7 note.) What do we know about those who reject, or fail to remain true, to the original message and teachings of Christ? (See 1:9 note.) How can we verify if a teaching about God or about Jesus Christ is true? How should those in the church respond to anyone who claims to follow Christ but whose teaching distorts, contradicts or opposes authentic New Testament teaching? (See 1:10 note.) What are we doing if we support such teachers? (See 1:10 note, sub point 3.) While this warning may seem harsh, why is it critical for the church to heed the instruction regarding loyalty to God's Word? (See 1:10 note, sub point 4.)
PRAY: Ask God to give you greater passion for His truth and greater compassion for others. Ask the Holy Spirit to challenge you if you are in any way failing to obey God's Word. Ask Him to help you recognize and respond appropriately to any teaching that defies or contradicts the truth of God's Word.
ACT: Do you feel that you are passionately devoted to the truth of God's Word? Does that passion translate to obvious compassion for others? Can people see your love for God in the way you respond to them? Be sure that your love for God is confirmed by love for others - love that shows itself in practical ways. Make every effort to behave in a kind, compassionate and loving way toward the people you come in contact with today. Be particularly careful around those who know about your faith and who expect you to show it. If you've behaved inappropriately toward anyone, make an apology and find a way to make up for your shortcoming with sincere kindness.