“Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil.” (1 John 3:7-8)*_
In today’s first reading, St. John basically tells us that children will always behave like their fathers. If you want to know the biological parents of a child, you can always do a DNA test but when it comes to checking whether one is a child of God or perhaps a child of the devil, St. John says you have to consider the presence of sin in the life of that person. God is righteous, his children are those who act righteously. Those who commit sin are children of the devil.
The words of John may sound harsh but the reality he points to is exactly what Jesus Christ was referring to when he said that a servant cannot have two masters. (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). You are either gathering for God or propagating the kingdom of the devil.
The problem with many Christians today is that they assume there can somehow be a middle way. So long as we know the difference between what is right and what is wrong and we still choose to do what is wrong, we are acting as children of the devil.
St. John says: “The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:10). In other words, failure to love is proof that God is far from you. I may be a priest (or hold a high position in the church) but if I harbour hatred in my heart and act out of hatred towards others, then I am a child of the devil or as Jesus puts it, I am a wolf in sheep clothing; a whitewashed tomb.
In our Gospel passage today, John the Baptist introduces Jesus to his disciples for the second time as the Lamb of God. This time, John the Baptist lost two of his own disciples to Jesus. John the Baptist would, later on, confess: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30). This is what it means to evangelize; it is allowing Jesus to increase (become more popular) while you decrease.
The two disciples went to Jesus inquiring to know where he was staying. They were eager to know everything about Jesus and after spending a day with Jesus, they couldn’t keep the Good News to themselves alone; they started telling people about Jesus.
We deceive ourselves when we assume we can evangelize (bring people to Jesus) without first spending time with Jesus. You cannot give what you do not have. You cannot be living in sin (working as a child of the devil) while hoping to bring people closer to God. How can we claim to be winning souls when we ourselves are not even convinced of the truth we profess?
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help me live above sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 John 3:7-10, Ps. 98:1,7-9, John 1:35-42).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu