Posted by: missionventureministries | September 27, 2018

LOVING GOD OR THE WORLD? – 1 John 2:16

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16) 

Worldliness is a matter of the heart. If your heart is fascinated with the world, you will love the things of the world. If your heart is captivated by the love of God, you will be drawn to Him and to the things that please Him. The only way however, that our hearts can be transformed so that we love God is by the supernatural new birth of repenting, believing, committing and trusting Him.

This passage identifies three key points that will, if unchecked and unguarded, ensnare a person into a sinful lifestyle.

First the lust of the flesh – in other words, sensuality, which is a body-oriented and emotion-driven reaction to fleshly appetites that can never please God (Romans 8:8) and is in constant warfare with the Spirit of God: For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17).

We are told to Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).

Therefore, to yield to the lust of the flesh is not to love the Father, but the world.

Second the lust of the eyes, which is an intellect-oriented and imagination-driven stimulation of wishful thinking that will take control of behavior if not carefully curtailed. Jesus said: The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23).

And thirdly the pride of life which is a self-oriented and ego-driven desire for dominance that has no ethic or limiting factor other than the praise of men, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43).

Any love relationship must be cared for, and that is true of our relationship with the Father. It is also true that the enemy is trying to lure us from the Father’s love with all of the temptations of the world.

If we look at Genesis 3:6 we see a lot of similarity in how Satan tempted Eve. She saw that the forbidden fruit was good for food, which was an appeal to the lust of the flesh. She saw “that it was a delight to the eyes,” appealing to the lust of the eyes. She also saw “that the tree was desirable to make one wise.” This in turn appealed to the pride of life.

We all battle these temptations frequently, and some fail quite often. But John’s point is, if we go on yielding to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life as our way of life, we are not maintaining love for the Father; rather, we are maintaining love for the world. Worldly people wallow in these things; God’s children fight them often.

So how do we maintain our love for the Father? We need to obey and love the Father with our eyes on eternity with Him and not apart from Him (1 John 2:17).

The opposite of loving the world means loving the Father, and obeying Him; “doing the will of God.” The will of God here refers to obeying His commandments as revealed in His Word. As Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).

A key reason to obey God’s commandments is the knowledge we gain from Scripture of the temporary nature of this world and its lusts, as contrasted with the eternal promise of heaven: “The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17)

If we love the world or the things in the world, we will lose them all at death. All that the worldly person lives for is gone in an instant and means nothing in light of eternity. Even if we have attained our worldly desires, what good are they at death? But, if we do God’s will, we will abide with Him in heaven throughout all eternity!

Remember that giving into these “worldly” powers may grant us pleasures for “a season” (Hebrews 11:25), and whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:4).

May our Lord Jesus grant that we stay armed against our enemy the devil with His complete armor so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes; and may be able to stand our ground (Ephesians 6:11, 13).

 

 

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