The literature ascribed to the apostle John often speaks about the ‘world,’ not just as a place, but seemingly as an entity in its own right. In today’s first reading we hear him speaking firstly about the Antichrist being in the ‘world’ (place). Further on in the reading we hear him talking about the language of the world, seemingly as an entity in its own right.

This is where the challenge lies for us. We are people who have to learn to live in the world without allowing the world’s agenda to direct our lives. As Christians, it is the will of God that we look to for direction, not the ways of the world. This is not easy! It requires good discernment in order to distinguish between the various philosophies with which we are confronted with daily.

The surest way of trying to protect ourselves from succumbing to the errors of the world is to immerse ourselves in the mind and will of God. We do this particularly through daily reading of the Scriptures and by a ready submission to the teaching authority of the Church. By doing this we will equip ourselves to be able to distinguish between truth and falsehood.

Furthermore, John gives us another principle to help us to discern good from bad, right from wrong. He tells us to examine whether a person or philosophy readily admits that Jesus is from God. That is, does the person or the philosophy proclaim Jesus as ‘Lord of All’? If this is not the case, then we should not involve ourselves in taking on the way of life that the person or philosophy espouses. It CANNOT be a Christian way of life unless Jesus is proclaimed as Lord.

With the information revolution upon us, it is more difficult today than at any other time in history to discern right from wrong! There are so many options ‘out there’ in the world that our task is seemingly endless. The best, quickest and easiest way to protect ourselves from having to constantly be making these judgments is to find a Christian Community to help you in the task. This will enable you to draw from the wisdom of eth Church and others in a way that will benefit you the most.

How sure am I of my ability to discern the ways of the world from the ways of the Kingdom of God? Where do I look for help in this process? Am I firmly rooted in a Christian community or do I tend to drift from one group to the next?

Lord Jesus, help me to find a community where I am comfortable and can send down roots so that I will be able to grow in my faith. I want to grow in my faith and realize that living as a member of a community is essential in achieving this end.