Posted by: missionventureministries | August 23, 2017


“Do not love the world, or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-16 

When we are told not to love the world, the Bible is referring to the world’s corrupt value system. Satan is the god of this world, and he has his own value system contrary to God’s (2 Corinthians 4:4). First John 2:16 details exactly what Satan’s system promotes: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Every sin imaginable can be summed up in those three evils; envy, adultery, pride, lying, selfishness, and a lot more spring up from those three roots. 

The world is what we leave when we come to Christ. Isaiah 55:7 says: “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” 

Loving the world means being devoted to the world’s treasures, philosophies, and priorities. God tells His children to set their priorities according to His eternal value system. We are to “seek first” God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). No one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and we cannot be devoted to both God and the world at the same time. 

When we enter God’s family through faith in Christ, God gives us the ability to leave the world’s desires – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We become citizens of another kingdom, “for our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Our desire becomes to know God, and we realize that the eternal is really important – not the temporal and we stop loving the world. 

When we have experienced the presence of our God and Savior we have a deep longing to know Him better and to become holy in our desires, thoughts and conduct.  

To continue to love the world the way unbelievers do, will cripple our spiritual growth and render us fruitless for God’s kingdom. Jesus gives us two examples about this. One is found in Luke 6:43-45:“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” 

And the other is found in John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples”.

In John 12:25, Jesus took this thought a step further when He said, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Jesus said if we love anything more than Him, we are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37-38).

In summary, the term world in the Bible refers to the evil system controlled by Satan that leads us away from worship of God. Therefore, we cannot receive God’s life if we are looking for life somewhere else.

The warning in our passage (1 John 2:15-16) corresponds beautifully to the last verse of 1 John 5 which says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” An idol is anything that replaces God, anything we make bigger than Him. Therefore, we need to remember that idolatry is when God is removed from the throne and something else is put in His place. That’s why we should examine our hearts and get on our knees before the Lord. We need to seek His forgiveness and ask Him to warn us through His Holy Spirit when we start diverting in the wrong direction.

Remember to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). And, “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

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