Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; none of these comes from the Father. They come from the world. The world is passing away, and all the things that people want in the world are passing away. But whoever does what God wants will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17
We cannot love the world and love God too.
As long as you let everything separate you from God’s love, you will not live in victory. We all suffer growing pains, in Christ and in the world. We all suffer disappointments, deceptions and failures. I have learned that when we focus on the process, we neglect the progress; and when we focus on the progress, we inevitably become over-comers! We must all go through something, to be perfect into becoming the best version of ourselves. Yet, if we spend time focused on the process alone, the wrong things will begin to attract our attention.
Have you ever wondered why some people see the grass greener on the other side? For example, a wife and husband can share great times together over the decades, but once some problems begin to arise like sickness or infidelity: any other option looks better. One of they may leave to another relationship, despite of their family breaking apart or it being expensive to maintain the relationship together. Anything else, to avoid dealing with problems in the first relationship! Why? Because the grass looks greener on the other side. The partners forgot how they stuck through problems, how they warmed each other up during winter nights, how they solved bi problems together, they forgot about the sacrifices and the obstacles they came across together! Now they rather go into new relationships, running the risk of it failing altogether. It’s because when we are unguarded in that secluded place of focusing on the process, our vision becomes blurry.
We cope with suffering in many ways, as I have mentioned before: thrill seeking, meditation, traveling, shopping, recreational activities, use of illicit substances, etc. But we must come to the realization that these are not solutions, these are pass-times. These things are entertaining for the moment, and then pass away. And you will be looking for the next fix. If we refuse to focus on temporary things, that are here one minute and gone the next then we can focus on better and bigger things. I think of it like this, instead of spending money buying the latest iPhones- put that money aside to buy a house for your future family. Instead of looking for a quick fix, invest in your long term well being.
- the lust of the flesh:
What value is there in going after strong desires of our fleshly needs? Remember Galatians 5:19-20: drunkenness, promiscuous sex, arguing, gossiping, manipulating others, causing division and envy, etc.
- the lust of the eyes:
What good is there in going after what we see with strong desire? Remember the curiosity of Eve? Or of the covetousness of Cain, who killed his brother? What about Tamar’s brother who raped her? And look at King David who lusted after Bathsheba?
- the pride of life:
What is there to feeling accomplished and finding value in our achievements like graduating from College or receiving the next promotion at work? The vain things in life are not things God is pleased in! This is the empty yet arrogant of li, lavish lifestyles; Proud and pretentiousness of fashion and other worldly things.
If you notice, these 3 things are interconnected with each other.
- Eve sinned because she was tempted through her eyes
- Eve was tempted with the pride of life- she wanted power like God’s
- Eve was tempted by the flesh, she had the desire to “eat” but of the forbidden
These were all distractions: for Eve and for the others in the Bible, as well.
The world offers short-term entertainment away from the real issues. So many people start out in childhood with big dreams and ambitions, feeling unstoppable and in their 20’s life hits them hard from all angles. We get tired from the knockouts, the wrestle, and before you know it are turning 40 with a short lived life. And not only short lived, but underdeveloped. Many people depend on outer circumstances to “be happy”. But happiness is an inside job! Isn’t this what we are all after, we are all in the pursuit of happiness. Most believing that happiness will come after getting or doing something. We have to change our perception, the way we see and receive things. We have to search our heart so we can truly be transformed. We must be willing, in disposition to learn and use what God offers us. Doing God’s will, bearing fruit and developing godly character is long term. God does one part, but we do the other part, not the world. Doing things in the world’s way, and accepting its temporary pleasures, will only make us enemies of God. And that is the last thing we would want to do.
Father God, you are so awesome. You really care about the small things going on in our heads and in our flesh. You were tempted and overcame, and you taught us we can do the same. I pray my brothers and sisters in the faith are strengthened today, by the power of your Holy Spirit in them. May your grace give them the understanding to do right, may your wisdom lead their path and may your love renew their hope in You. May we be able to resist the world, and may we also know how to enjoy life in the time allotted to us. In Jesus majestic and mighty name, Amen!