Of course, when God says we should not love the world, He is not talking about the people in this world. We are commanded to love everybody. But God does not want His people to conform to the ways of this world. He does not want us to embrace the ungodly things this world stands for.
“If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” the Bible warns us (1 John 2:15). We become born of God’s Spirit upon accepting Christ. This life-changing experience empowers us to imitate the ways of God. He wants us to love the things He loves, and to dislike the things He dislikes. But if we adopt the ways of this world, the indwelling Spirit of God cannot govern our lives.
So what kind of conduct may suggest that we love the world? John mentions three areas that characterize the ways of this world: “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (verse 16). He says these are not of the Father. Let’s briefly talk about each of these.
The lust of the flesh. Our world has gone sex crazy. No one can escape the vicious campaign being waged against us. Even in the church, sex scandals make the national headlines. Also, the way in which some women dress in the house of God is way over the top. As the people of God, we must not love the world in this regard but we must purify ourselves.
The lust of the eyes. Some people’s eyes get them in so much trouble. If they see it, they have to have it. The business community understands how powerful visual advertising can be. That’s why many businesses spend so much money on ads. I am writing this blog post a few days before Super Bowl 51. For that game, a 30-second ad can cost up to $5 million dollars! Upon that I rest my case.
The pride of life. When I think about this one, I think about the so-called “prosperity gospel” today. I believe it has infected a large portion of the body of Christ with a preoccupation for monetary wealth and materialism. I heard a church pastor talking to her congregation about her new Lexus. She was rejoicing that she no longer had to drive a Toyota. Some preachers today preach almost exclusively on prosperity and high end living. What a shame.
We are called to be a peculiar people. But that line between the people of the world and the people of God continues to blur. For the record, God wants us to love the people of this world but not the ways of this world.
Copyright © 2017 by Frank King. All rights reserved.