WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? As it turns out love has a lot to do with everything. “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 NIV)
But how do we define the word “love” used in these verses. In the context the word is not used as a “feeling” but rather as a commitment. What are we really committed to? And it helps to understand the word “world” used here. The word is used in the sense of the “order of things” or the system of things we live under in our daily lives. The Apostle John says in 1 John 5:19 that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” We wonder sometimes how things in the world happen or why they happen. They don’t make sense to us. But we often forget who is behind the scenes pulling the strings. It is obvious here there are some choices to be made in the Christians’ life. Either we chose to be committed to Father God and His plan or we choose to be committed to the world system of things that is under the control of Satan (“the evil one”). John draws a “line in the sand.” Which side of the line are you on? God’s side or Satan’s side? There is no middle ground here.
It is interesting to note that John describes the attraction of the world and its temptations as being exactly the same as the attractions that Satan tried in tempting Jesus when Jesus walked the earth (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan’s tactics don’t change they just take on different disguises. The world attempts to get the Christian committed to “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” It is simplistic to sum all these things up in one word in our generation, “worldliness.”
What Christians usually mean by that is the seeking after fleshly pleasures, material things, and prestige or social position. God has created the world and the people of the world to be enjoyed and cared for by man but not worshipped or abused or be our major commitment in life. God has given us physical and spiritual eyes that we might appreciate the beauty of the things around us and be blessed by what He has allowed man to accomplish in this life. And God has offered man the opportunity to give God the glory for all the accomplishments that an individual, group or nation may accomplish in this life. Satan twists those things so that men become prideful and are tempted to commit to those things instead of committing themselves to God.
The real sin in those things is how man becomes corrupted in their pursuit of life in their time on earth. Instead of focusing on God and our proper stewardship on behalf of God we begin to focus on ourselves and what we can accumulate. Instead of looking at the world through God’s eyes we look at things through the world’s eyes and lust (desire greedily) for what benefits us whether it is in the material, sexual, or emotional realm. Instead of seeking God’s honor in everything we do and giving Him the glory for what is accomplished we bask in the limelight, awards and achievements. Being committed to the world is about attitude just as much as it is about accumulation. One can be poor materially & socially and still sin in all these areas because commitment to accomplishing the things of the world is just as bad as commitment once you have them.
Is it wrong to be rich? Is it wrong to own nice things? Is it wrong to occupy positions of honor? Is it wrong to feel good about how God has used you in life to benefit others? Maybe and maybe not. The real question is, “Are you committed to God in your pursuit of life? Are you committed to God more than the world order of things that is controlled by Satan? Is your ultimate goal in life to honor God because of the salvation He has given you through the blood of Christ? “The world and its desires pass away but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17 NIV)