If we live with an interest in what people do and think spiritually today it can be confusing. There are so many different religions and ways of understanding the Christian faith that not all of them can be right. There is a lot to consider in the secular world in which we live, in the west, of how we live respectfully and accepting of diversity while keeping our faith real and honest. This isn’t a new problem and John, one of the first followers of Jesus, faced it too: 

Children, time is just about up. You heard that Antichrist is coming. Well, they’re all over the place, antichrists everywhere you look. That’s how we know that we’re close to the end. They left us, but they were never really with us. If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end. In leaving, they showed their true colors, showed they never did belong. But you belong. The Holy One anointed you, and you all know it. I haven’t been writing this to tell you something you don’t know, but to confirm the truth you do know, and to remind you that the truth doesn’t breed lies. 1 John 2:18-21 (The Message)

When people think about Anti-Christ today we can be too influenced by media representations in the movies, for instance the Omen series or the Exorcist. John isn’t talking in those terms but as someone who holds the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ dear. He sees people misrepresenting the message that he and others had brought to the nations. He saw people who had willingly accepted Jesus going off and making something of him that promoted themselves and their own powers. This upset him and what he wanted to do was encourage our simple faith in following Jesus, putting Christ first and living the spiritual life of a true Christian. Of course today people are quick to say, ‘What is truth? Surely my truth is as good as your truth?’ and I don’t want to disregard or disrespect people’s right to choose to live in a spiritual life that isn’t Christian. What I do want to say is that in order to follow Jesus Christ then there are beliefs, based on the Word of God, and actions, motivated through the work of the Holy Spirit, that incarnate the real Spirit of Jesus Christ in our lives. We can only be sure that we are following his way if we are growing in a consciousness of what the Bible teaches and willing to receive guidance from Christ’s presence with us, through the Holy Spirit. This takes a heart that seeks and a spirit that receives without expecting to profit or gain worldly power through our faith. John’s concerns should be our concerns as we see misuse and abuse of Christian faith and values but the first thing to consider is how we ourselves represent Jesus to others and live in his way.

Living Lord Jesus, take my ways and make them yours, take my words and make them true, take my life and create in me the embodiment of your good news to all people today. Amen.

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