“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love 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 pride of life) is not of the Father, but is of the world. And, the world passes away and the lust thereof; but he that does the will of God abides forever.”
I John 2:15-17
We should never wonder if we’re a child of God when these are in operation.
Love = obedience.
That’s the bottom-line message of the Apostle John’s Manna today. This aged, beloved follower of Christ, who was the only one of the original 12 Apostles who didn’t die a violent death, knew up-close-and-personal what it meant to “love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength” (Dt. 6:5). And, this is the message he was trying to convey to his readers (and us) as he penned these wonderful words.
Now, at first glance, his first words (“Love not the world, neither the things in the world”) are tough to understand. Does this mean we should become an ascetic hermit who lives in a hut in the mountains or a shanty on the seashore? Does this mean it’s wrong for us to have a nice house, car, clothes, etc., or enjoy going to a movie, ballgame, hunting, etc?
No, it doesn’t mean that at all.
But, it does mean we shouldn’t “love them” more than we love Him.
And, it certainly means that our love for Him should be so apparent that others will at times think we hate “the world and the things that are in the world” (Mt. 19:29; Mk. 10:29-30; Lk. 14:26-27).
Let’s face it:
It’s “natural” to be attracted to the things of the world. That’s our Adamic nature—i.e., to fulfill the “lust of the flesh (any physical appetite or insatiable craving), lust of the eyes (greed, envy, jealousy, etc.) and the pride of life (prestige, power, popularity, etc.).” But, if we’ve walked the Pilgrim’s Pathway very long we know those “earthly treasures” are always subject to “rust, rot and robbers” (Mt. 7:19-21) and will soon be gone.
That’s why “knowing Christ and the power of His Resurrection” (Phil. 3:10a) should always be our life’s “Magnificent Obsession.” No one needs to tell us that we’re getting older and our world’s beginning to decay right in front of our eyes. Some warn of global warming and urge change; however, much more serious is hell’s warming and the need to “flee from the wrath to come” (Lk. 3:7).
Assuredly, “the world is passing away” as “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:13-15). . .and us with it. Therefore, we should make sure that we’re seeking to “do the will of God” in all we do and say each moment of every day. Only then can we rest assured that the Father’s Life, Light and Love abide within us and we’re doing what He wants us to do. May the Holy Spirit help us today to “seek His Kingdom and Righteousness first”—confident that our hair-counting, tear-catching, sparrow-watching God will be honored and supply all of our needs as He has promised (Mt. 6:33; Phil. 4:19).
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated June 30, 2009