Do Not Love This World, Part 1
The cover image above depicts a lady who’s doing everything possible to maintain a firm grip on something that’s seemingly invaluable to her(In her case a purple pineapple). This is just a simple imagery of what Jesus taught regarding the connection between human beings and their possessions(the temporal things of this world). Jesus knew the grip that material things can have on people which is precisely why He commanded His followers, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.” Don’t get Him wrong, material things are good, but Jesus was trying to state the plain fact that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.
1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
Profound, isn’t it? John has told us already that if we walk in sin’s darkness and claim to be in fellowship with God, we are lying (1 John 1:16). Now John points out a specific area of sin that especially threatens our fellowship with God: worldliness, (To love the world). The world, in the sense John means it here, is not the global earth, nor is it the mass of humanity, which God Himself loves according to John 3:16; Instead it is the community of sinful humanity that is united in rebellion against God. God created us and placed us in the world but not to be of the world (John 17:14-18).
The passage of 1 John 2:15-17 points out that the character of the world expresses itself through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. These lusts seek to draw our own flesh away into sin and worldliness. God knows we have a fleshly, bodily nature, and physical needs that feel good when satisfied yet it is not in His nature to influence us wrongly through them. Even though they ‘feel good’ and ‘satisfy’ something within us, God calls it sin. And it is sin that will cause people not to inherit the Kingdom of God. If you love the world, there are rewards to be gained. You may find a place of prestige, of status, of honor, of comfort; for the world system knows how to reward its lovers. At the same time, even at their best, the rewards that come from this world last only as long as we live. The problem is that though we gain them, we lose the prestige, status, honor, and comfort of heaven. So God here is calling upon us to hate the world and the things therein.
In His book, ‘Celebration of Discipline’, Richard Foster defines the lust of the flesh as the failure to discipline the natural human passions, the lust of the eye as the tendency to be captivated by the outward show and the pride of life as pretentious egoism.” In each case the same thing is seen: infatuation with natural human powers and abilities without any dependence on God (Richard 2008) .How easy it has become especially in our affluent world to fall into this trap. Many have fallen and sadly, many will not realize this before their time on earth is up. May God help us to observe the strictest daily discipline to hold these passions in check.