Summary: If there is one thing to summarize the message of 2 John, it’s walking with God. 2 John teaches us how to walk with Jesus and he’s does it in 300 words. And if we will take what John says and do it, we’ll experience "a joy that's complete."
Walking with God
Hannah Kaufold tells the story of signing up to lead a pilgrimage across northern Spain to visit the remains of one of Jesus’ BFFs: St. James. It was 500 miles long. She thought she was signing up for this cool adventure where she got to talk about Jesus and go for a long walk with a fun group of people. Every day, they woke up at 5 am to begin their walk before the sun was even up. Some days they walked about 20 miles; other days they only walked 10. Their path was guided by little yellow arrows found along the way, marking where their journey would lead them. Along the way, they told stories, they cried, they prayed and they patched up each other’s blisters. They laughed – a LOT and kept each other going. But it also was one of the most painful experiences she’d ever had. She tells of one day about midway on the journey when she’d never felt exhaustion like this before. They had been walking for almost 11 hours; that was longer than the amount of sleep they’d had in the past two nights combined. They were running out of water and it was the hottest part of the day. Every single muscle in her leg was screaming with pain and she literally didn’t think she could push myself anymore. But her friend said, “No, Hannah, I can’t let you stop now. It’ll only make it that much harder to keep going." She was right. They had no choice. They knew that putting one blistered foot in front of the other was the only way to get us to Villafranca – our destination for the day.
She thought this pilgrammage was going to be a lot of fun, and it was, but God said to her that’s just a perk, “I’m gonna change your heart.” He used the Camino to show her where I was broken and what finally needed to be surrendered. He used it to stretch her more than she ever thought possible: physically, mentally and emotionally. And all of it – every cramping muscle, every conversation, and every painful step was an opportunity to show Jesus how much she loved Him. That walk to Villafranca brought me one day closer to Santiago, but it did more than that. It brought me one step closer to my ultimate goal of the joy of heaven. And then she writes, “Every day – every moment – is just another little yellow arrow that guides us closer to His heart if we allow it. We should be able to look at our lives today and ask ourselves if we are one step closer to Heaven than we were yesterday. Blessed Mother Teresa walked The Way in Calcutta. St. James walked The Way in Spain. I (attempt to) walk this Way in Evanston, IL. Wherever we are is where Jesus invites us to walk this lifelong pilgrimage with Him.”
Second John was written around 95 A.D. from Ephesus where John served as the Pastor after being released from exile on the island of Patmos, where John received the revelation that he wrote down called, “The Book of Revelation.” If there is one thing to summarize the message of 2 John, it’s walking with God. 2 John teaches us how to walk with Jesus and he’s does it in 300 words. And if we will take what John says and do it, we’ll experience what he says at the end of his letter, which is, a “joy that’s complete” So how are we to walk with God?
First is with a commitment to truth. John mentions “truth” 5 times in the first 4 verses Here’s why: Because the only basis for us relating to each other is in truth. You don’t want to be around people who won’t tell you the truth. I think about the contrast between two famous sayings about the truth. One of them is from the movie “A Few Good Men” when Tom Cruise is examining Jack Nicholson on the stand (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FnO3igOkOk Starting at 33 seconds with “Colonel Jessup, did you order the Code red and ending at 47 seconds) and yells, "I just want the truth." Nicholson says, "You can't handle the truth!" Then there’s the saying of Jesus: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." Now you have to decide if you're going to believe Jesus, or if you're going to believe Jack. Only one leads to freedom but there’s a downside: a commitment to truth first will make you miserable. Why? Because it’s never easy to share the truth with someone. I work out 5-6 times a week and so when someone new joins they’re pretty easy to pick out. A few months ago, we had a guy in his late 40’s join. He wore the Dr. Dre headphones which cancel out all of the other sounds in the gym. Well, it wasn’t long before he started to sing out loud. And it was a squeaky voice to whatever song he was singing. And worse yet, he was out of tune. It was the kind of voice that was like nails on a chalkboard. And every person in the gym is miserable…and annoyed. Everyone’s talking about it but nobody wants to say anything to the guy. And I got in a conversation with a few others and it went like this, “I’m not going to say anything, you say something…” We even went to the managers and they didn't want to say anything to the guy. Too often we’re loose with our words and we’re hesitant to speak the truth. Why? Because the truth is hard and it could lead to a confrontation.