Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. – 1 John 2:15-17
John the apostle wrote a very short and concise letter to a group of believers in his day and most likely of the greater region of Jerusalem and Judea. There must have been some brewing trouble in the church because John addressed the issue of remaining in fellowship with God by living righteously and loving one another. He did mention to them that they were growing in God and that the darkness was being replaced by the light of God living in them. Thus, they showed evidence of maturing in the faith.
What a “spiritual punch between the eyes” (so to speak) this morning! How many times do we allow the “things of this world” to entice us and lure us away from the path of righteousness? The lure doesn’t have to be just “things” but can be an idea or even a person! Even Jesus said that so as it was in the days of Noah, so it would be when the Son of Man returned. People would be marrying and giving in marriage and working and farming and “going about their daily lives,” if you will.
Notice that Jesus didn’t say the world would be filled with violence and murder and great abominations (sins), even though that happened in Noah’s day too. God said in Genesis that he destroyed the world with water because of the continual wickedness of man. There is also great wickedness and violence in the world today because man’s heart is evil continually. Jesus even warned us in the parable of the sower that there are those “in the faith” who receive the Word of God and see it germinate and operate in their lives only to have it choked out by the weeds. What are the weeds? They are the cares and things of this life.
Now do we see why John tells us not to allow the things of this life to consume us and become our focus and center of attention? It is the same lesson that Solomon teaches us in Ecclesiastes, all is meaningless and like grasping for the wind. Why? Because everything this world has to offer is temporary and fading away. The only lasting thing is God and his Word. Jesus said that his Word would never pass away. Why? Because He is the Word of God, just as John wrote at the beginning of his letter. We need to have faith in God, which pleases God, and then do all that he tells us to do. That is what Jesus did. He only did and said what the Father told him. Nothing more, nothing less.
Father, I open my heart to you and to my fellow brethren and to the world and confess that I’ve allowed things of this world to enter into my life and distract me from the narrow path of life that you’ve set before me. The things of this world cannot and do not fill the longing inside me for the craving that I have for you! They may for a moment bring happiness and pleasure, but they flit away as quickly as they come. Father, I repent of having entertained anything this world has to offer. They may not have been wrong in and of themselves, but the fact is that I allowed them to pull my eyes off of you even if but for a brief moment. For that dear Father, I am sorry and remorseful. I confess my sins and trust in you to forgive them and to cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness, just as John wrote in this letter to the believers. Thank you for your love and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.