Loving God and Not the World
My scripture this week comes from 1 John 2:15-17. One of the first things I do when I wake up each morning is to reach for my cell phone and review my Bible App to see the scripture for the day. This scripture was one of the scriptures this week and it resonated with me, so I decided to commit it to memory.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15-17
I struggled a bit in understanding the first verse.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them." 1 John 2:15
I certainly want to love the Father and this verse states that I can't love God and the things of this world. To better understand this I peeped over at the Message version of the Bible and it explained the verse in another way.
Their version read:
"Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father...."
Ahhhh, that's it. When I love the ways of the world that fills up my heart and in turn reduces space to love God. Got it! So then I began to inquire to God, what does it mean to love the world? How do you love the world? I wanted to understand this so I could avoid it. Verse 16 explains how you love the ways of the world:
"For everything in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life --- comes not from the Father but from the world." 1 John 2:16
We live in a world that is so inwardly focused. We are consumed with caring for ourselves and always wanting more stuff.
What about me? I need more clothes.
What about me? I need a better car.
What about me? I need more money.
What about me? I need recognition.
What about me? I just so unsatisfied with my life.
I think back during a time when I was so self-focused and resorted to illegally using money from my political account to fund my self-driven lusts. My spending started small in the beginning.
It started with hot chocolate. I love hot chocolate, and instead of using my own money for a cup of hot chocolate, I decided to use my campaign debit card to pay for it. With sin, you may open the door to what seems small and insignificant, but once you continue in it, the door widens.
As my flesh was satisfied billing my campaign account for hot chocolate, my lust for more grew bigger. I now didn't just want hot chocolate, I wanted a new dress. So I used my campaign card for shopping. I didn't just buy a dress, but I purchased shoes, then I purchased blouses. Shoes, hot chocolate and dresses were not enough. I wanted more, so I got my hair done, my nails done and used the campaign account to pay for some of my bills, like my mortgage and gas for my car.
I was living according to the ways of the world and not by the Spirit. I felt like I needed these things and in some sense, deserved these things despite my spending practices being illegal and unethical.
However, living and loving the ways of the world always end in destruction and death.
Verse 17 warns that:
"the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."
The money that I spent on clothes, shoes, hair and bills --- all wasted away. I have no idea what happened to the items that I purchased using that money. It's like those items vanished in smoke. Seriously. Some of the things, I just can't fit anymore, some of the clothes got lost in transition, some things I just gave away.....it's like I have nothing to show for anything. The shoes I purchased, well they have gone out of style, others are too small or just don't fit well, and the money I spent to pay my mortgage and electric bills, I wound up losing the home eventually to foreclosure.
I spent so much time being thirsty and hungry for more and more and more, and willing to act illegally to acquire it, that ultimately all of that stuff passed away. There was no eternal, sustaining life in any of that, because it was all fueled by lust.
I've learned that when we love the ways of the world it just brings us to death and destruction, but loving God and loving His ways and being committed to His will, we live forever -- in eternity with Him in heaven.
Isn't this a great scripture to keep in mind and in your heart? I pray that you will ask God to show you in areas in your life where you are loving the things of this world and not God? God wants to be the first priority in your life and refuses to be number two. I've learned that He'll burn up any idols in your life and/or strip you from those things to ensure that He is number One. That way has consequences though ---and so it is my hope that you will meditate on this Scripture and let the Lord lead and guide you so you may love Him with your whole heart.
Kacie Starr Long is an author, talk show host and the proud wife of Alfred T. Long Sr. When not writing, Kacie enjoys sewing. She is the founder of Sew Hope, a sewing school for previously incarcerated men and women. Connect with Kacie at www.InspiredOverflow.com and via her YouTube page for more inspiration and encouragement.