“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:15-16 NKJV.
As believers in Christ, are we faced with a conundrum? God said, “He loves the world and gave His Son for it.” Jesus said, “We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.” Who is our neighbor? Is it not the people who populate the world? So, what does the Apostle John mean in his command, “Do not love the world?”
Well, let us think a minute. If this command means, we are not to love the people in the world, it is one of the greatest contradictions in the Bible. Jesus even commanded us to love our enemies, who are in the world. Therefore, John could not mean, not to love the people of the world. What then does he mean? He means, do not love the thinking and ways of the people in the world. These are the Godless world systems which are contrary to everything God stands for.
The main thinking of unsaved worldly people is made plain by the Holy Spirit, through John. God declares, loving the world the wrong way, centers around thoughts, desires and actions, which are contrary to God’s love for the world and His commands to us to love people in the world. This world we are not to love, is the world of mankind in rebellion against God and His kingdom. For all which is in the world, says John is based on these three mindsets.
1.) The lust of the flesh,
2.) The lust of the eyes,
3.) The pride of life.
All these traits are not of the Father, but of the world. God is directly saying, those outside His realm, no matter how religious or good they think they are, have behavioral trait’s Christians are not to have nor love. These traits are centered in fulfilling the selfish, sinful, antichrist desires in the human heart.
John is teaching, worldly people think and work to satisfy their self-centered desires. These are contrary to God’s desires. God does not have bodily lusts; He needs to fulfill. The Lord never uses His eyes to scope-out people or things to satisfy the thoughts and intents of a mind filled with the lust of power. God has no evil pride. He does not have a need to enslave people to submit to Him, in order to fulfill lusts and pride. The sovereign God owes mankind nothing but the punishment of death. He could satisfy this sentence with the power of one thought. If He lived according to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life, woe be to human beings. God does not live to satisfy His needs through the power of force and enslavement. He satisfies them through redemption and personal responsibility for all He created. We see this in the mission of the Son of God, who declared the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-3, is about Him. He said this to His hometown community.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Luke 4:18-19 NKJV
For what reason, we may ask? The reason God is slack about carrying out your death sentence and sent Jesus to accomplish this prophecy, is centered in the thought of His heart, as expressed by Peter.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
God’s kingdom is not like the kingdoms and nations of this world, which He warns about falling in love with. His kingdom is like this.
“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17 NKJV
You see; God’s concern has nothing to do with power fulfillment of the lust of the flesh and eyes, nor the pride of life. This is the way of the world and its leaders. God admonishes us, not to love these things and behave this way!
After, the people of God entered the promise land by miraculous care and providing for all their needs, Israel became ungrateful. These people turned away from the love of God to the love of the world. Now ungrateful people, demanded of God’s prophet Samuel, disturbing lusts and prideful desires, to become like the world. They wanted to leave the Kingdom of God to satisfy personal greed.
“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.’” 1 Samuel 8:4-5 NKJV
God gives them the desires of their heart, but also warns them of the desires of their human king’s heart. This is a long quote but necessary to understand what is in the world system and how it is built on the lust of the flesh and eyes and pride.
“So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, ‘This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.’” 1 Samuel 8:10-18 NKJV
This really is a dark progressive movement which can happen in anyone’s life. In your little world and kingdom, the lust of the flesh and eyes and pride of life ends up with an all-consuming need to satisfy one’s self at the expense of others. It is hard to see this in ourselves. However, if we see a domineering person, you can’t stand to be around, the point is proved. Did you notice how much the world will take from you, as described by God above? There is no end of the fulfillment to someone’s lust until they have taken all you have. No wonder John teaches us not to love this type of worldly behavior or political systems. Conversely, many do and want more of it, thinking it will satisfy their own lusts and pride. The Israelites were warned about this, and it didn’t faze them at all! Listen to the sick desire they craved for.
“Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, ‘No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.’” 1 Samuel 8:19-20 NKJV
What is the matter with people, in putting their trust in a person of the world, to fulfill their lustful desires? The Son of God did not do this! He kept His focus on God, His Father! Why?
“But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” John 2:24-25 NKJV
How powerful, the man who sacrifices Himself to save humans whom He loves, dares not entrust Himself to their love-affair with the world. If you have become a worldly apostate Christian, isn’t it time to follow the example of the one who loves you and not the world which wants to subjugate you? Love of God will bring you an abundant life. Love of the world will bring you death and despair. Why?
“And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:17 NKJV
The choice belongs to all of us. Think about this last thought. This thought is important for Christians and non-Christians alike. The people of Israel desired a king to replace their true King, the Lord of Hosts. Did the Lord, have a hissy fit over this? No, He did not. He gave the people the evil desires of their heart. All the bad actions, He warned the children of Israel about a king, came to pass. The ending result was the destruction of their nation and exile to Babylon. The western world and many in the Christianity of the west, are systematically, leaving their Biblical roots, desiring the allure of humanistic globalism. This is a desire for a one-world government of elites. This will end up badly for all with the rule of the Antichrist. Church, if you are seeking humanism, God will let you have it. Citizens of various countries, if you are seeking socialism-communism, over Judeo-Christian values, God will let you have it. The warning is clear concerning loving the world over God. The end is not pretty.
“Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15 NIV
Friends let all of us consider, through thoughtful meditation and prayer, the differences between the two systems. We need to think about the system of the world, in comparison to God’s system. Once done, with all the comparisons thought out to their conclusions, realize only God is who we should love. Let us think of the words in 1 Corinthians 2:9.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Can the world offer us eternal bliss like God? I think NOT!