What do you think of the world you live in?
Not the bigger world but your personal world. The world that contains your family and friends your home, work and church.
I love my world! I really do. I adore my family, friends and my church. I love my home and the area I live in. My world is pretty great.
However, if I love my world how do I relate to verses like 1 John 2:15 where John says to not love the world or the things in it? Or in James 4:4 which says friendship with the world is hostility towards God!
Have you ever read those verses and felt guilty because you love your world.
So how do we understand these verses in light of the feelings we have about our world?
Geneses 1:31 reminds us that when God created the world He declared that it was good.
John is not saying that what God has created is bad and sinful. John is speaking about the things of this world in light of those things that take our attention and affection away from God. He is speaking about our heart.
John clearly identifies two positions of the heart that turn our love of the world into something that displeases God.
Those two things are lust and pride.
Neither of these two things have their origin in God.
He identifies two types of lust. Lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes:
- Lust of the flesh refers to a bodily appetite and where those desires become greater than our desire for God. Satan tried to influence this lust with Jesus when he suggested that Jesus turn stones into bread in the desert, Luke 4:3-4.
- Lust of the eyes is our desire to covet and acquire things if this world; whether it be beauty, riches or fame. Satan also approached Jesus about this in v5-8 when he showed Jesus the kingdoms and offered it to him if Jesus would bow his knee.
- Pride of life is when we have an arrogant assumption of who we are and what we deserve. Once again Satan challenges Jesus in Luke 4:9 with this when he takes Jesus to the top of the temple to look down on what was below.
Just like Jesus we are all tempted by these things but John encourages us that all those types of things are temporary and not worth our time.
There is no doubt that the world is competing for our love and affection. It is our responsibility to see when our love for those things has become greater than God in our lives.
Jesus withstood the temptation of those ungodly heart desires and the encouragement for us today is that we can withstand them to!
The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us. It is with His power that we are able to love the world in the way Jesus loved the world, John 3:16.
God wants us to love and to enjoy life but He wants us to do it in a way that doesn’t allow it to steal our attention and affection from Him.
I am so encouraged that You have equipped me with Your Spirit so that I will not be overcome with desires that distract me from You. I give You permission today to show me where those ungodly affections have crept in so I can surrender them to You.
Question: In what areas do you struggle with your attention and affection being pulled away from God? You can leave a comment by clicking here.