Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 2 John, verse 9.
This short letter deals with heavy themes. In the less-than-twenty verses that comprise 2 John, the book deals with grace, unconditional love, modeling Christ, deception, obedience, truth, anti-Christ, eternity and consequences. Let’s talk about those consequences because this verse alludes to a few.
There’s the obvious one, of abandoning Jesus’ teaching: giving up Christ. There’s the the consequence of that, namely the lonely abyss that is life without Him. And there’s the idea that giving up knowledge is giving up God; so much for the idea of a moral secular education.
Yet there’s one consequence that I’ve not mentioned but I read into from this verse: contentment. Are you ever satisfied with a cheater? Nobody I know, even the most Godly, likes it when someone cuts in line. We don’t like to be cut off in traffic; we don’t like it when people cut into line ahead of us; we don’t tolerate those who break our laws to jump ahead of the legal system. We become discontented.
Here’s the kicker: none of that matters. We are to be content with where we are in life, with running our own race, with who God has us to be and what we are doing with the hours He gives us. Just yesterday, I was listening to a podcast of a sermon my friend Patrick preached a few weeks ago. The gist of it was reminding us that ‘we got nothin.’ Without the Savior, we are nothing. We can never hope to be better than ourselves even as Jesus tells us that, to gain eternal life, we must be better than even the very best of humankind.
The trick of it is realizing that we got nothin on our own, so that we can admit this to God. When we do that, He fills us with contentment to run our own race. When we humble ourselves and admit our failings and our inadequacy before Him, He sees a repentant child who is fertile ground in which to grow a good crop of faith.
Part of humbling ourselves is realizing that we are where we are – who, what, where, and when we are – for God’s purpose. That doesn’t mean we should settle for what is bad, or compromise with hurt, wrong or evil. It does mean, though, that we should thank God for all our circumstances, then thankfully use the talents and means He gives us to make the most of them. We should do these things for His glory, for His kingdom. In this way, though we got nothin, with Jesus we have all we could ever dream of. Only in this is there true contentment.
Lord, thank You for where You have me. Thank You for providing all I have. I praise You and submit to You.