John writes this, and really hits home. This comes just after he speaks of the victory we have over the evil one. But what good is having victory over the evil one if we are going to love and live for his domain, the earthly desires and passions of this world?
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. Well, how can this be? This is written by the same guy who gave us our favorite and most famous verse in the bible – “”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV. So God loves the world, but we can’t? If we love the world He created and loved, then we don’t have His live in us? This seems contradictory when we read it. Part of the problem is in translation – in the original Greek there are two different words used which we translate as “world.” God so loved the world…meaning His good creation and the people He made for it. He loves US – the people of the world. Each individual person He created, He loves enough to send His own son so we (I) should not perish but have everlasting life!! Do not love the world…we love the world, but not the people. The systems we set up in the world, what we chase after, this is what love. The systems of the devil. We see this in the next verse –
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. The world we love – lust, greed and pride. These were the temptations Jesus was faced with in the wilderness. Lust (desires of the flesh) – “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”” Luke 4:3 ESV. Greed (lust of the eyes) – “And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”” Luke 4:5-7 ESV. Pride – “And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,” Luke 4:9 ESV. Jesus did not give in to these temptations, but Eve did – “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust), and that it was a delight to the eyes (greed), and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise (pride), she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:6 ESV. We still fall for all these temptations, lust, greed and pride. It still gets us into all sorts of trouble. We try and pursue all sorts of things seeking pleasures of our flesh – sex drugs and rock-n-roll baby! We spend our lives pursuing things we feel look nice and make us look good – all of our toys and monuments. Big house, nice cars, glitz and glam. We want the pride of position in life – good job, well respected. In America, our pursuit of all these things was written directly onto the soul of our nation – we base our culture, our nation, and our lives based on “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This has devolved into the pursuit of whatever makes me feel good, right here, right now. This is who we are and what we love. We are supposed to love the people God created. Instead we love the systems the devil invented for the world.
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. And so this is the truth we face – all these things we pursue and love are fading away. Doesn’t matter how successful we are in the devil’s creation, the systems we live and operate under, it is all going to rust and fade away. “It’s better to burn out than fade away.” So says Neal Young and the rock and roll generations. Better pursue all this world has to offer as quick and fast as you can, right? It’s all about the experiential. It’s all about the feeling you have, the exhilaration, the rush. That’s the problem. We are completely backward. My pastor talks about being 5 degrees off course, we are 180 degrees off course. We love the things and pursuits of this world, but hate the people in it. We are supposed to love the people and hate the things. Take up our cross and follow Him. Do we follow Him, or our desires?
Love God. Love people. Not the world.
“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 desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
1 John 2:15-17 ESV