1 John 2:15-17: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
In this blog article, I simply want to call us to be lovers of God, not lovers of the world or anything in the world.
But what does this mean?
The word “love” speaks of more than just “emotion.” It certainly involves “passion” but it means to be “devoted too or attached too.” There is only One we should be supremely devoted to, attached to and have a passion for: the Lord Jesus Christ, His glory, His Gospel and doing His will.
First of all, as John points out, if we are filled with love for this world or anything in it, God’s love cannot and is not in us. Let that sink in for a moment. God wants us to be filled with His love; not us to be filled with love for something else. And it can’t be both. It’s either His love filling us or love for the world that fills us. There is no middle ground. To try to have it both ways is to compromise and be lukewarm. Jesus hates lukewarmness (see Revelation 3:14-22).
Secondly, nothing in this world that we see, is eternal. It is “passing away.” It is temporary, transitory. Only God is eternal and transcendent. So only those who cling to Him and do His will, will inherit the gift of eternal life, as they are connected to the eternal God, who is eternal life! To “cling” to anything else is foolish as it cannot be held onto forever. As Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-26: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Thirdly, love or devotion for the things in the world (our desires) is idolatry, which is spiritual adultery to the heart of God. James 4:4-8 sharply rebukes this way of life. Think about the reality of this to the heart of God: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
We either are friend of God or friend of the world, but we can’t be both. As Jesus put it in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
We either are a lover of God or spiritual adulterer. That is strong language, but consider how offensive and hurtful it is to God that what He has created or given is “worshiped” or considered more important than Him! (See Romans 1:18-32). For years, baseball was more important to me than my relationship with God. What is it in your life?
Paul warned of this in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”
Lovers of themselves, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, a form of godliness. Does this describe you and your life? Who and what are you really devoted to? Money? Image? Sports? Entertainment? Are you trying to have it both ways…God plus something?
A lover of God seeks God wholeheartedly. A lover of God puts relationship with Him as the priority, pursuit and passion of their life, above all, before all and equal to none and nothing else. It is not God plus anything. It is God plus nothing. God is everything to the one who loves Him. Everything else they do, they do because of and out of their love, commitment and devotion to Him.
I challenge you, as I challenge myself, be a lover of God not a lover of the world. Be an Abraham, not a Lot (see Genesis 13:10-15:1 and chapter 19). Be a friend of God, not a friend of the world. Find security and comfort in Christ; not in the world or anything in it. Find peace in Him; not in anyone or anything else. Obey Him and do His will; seek Him and seek His will; not your own. Let nothing come in between your passion and devotion to Christ. This is true life and life everlasting!
John 4:34: “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me…”
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.