In I John 2:15-17, we read this instruction: “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, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
The Message puts it this way: “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.”
The question I am pondering today is, “Do I love the Father or am I guilty of loving the world?” Love is a choice. There is an old Garth Brooks song that talks about “Looking for love in all the wrong places…” and too often we are guilty of that, perhaps not in the way the song means but in other aspects of our lives. How many times do I choose the things of the world over the things of the Father? Do I realize that more often than not “love of the world” really boils down to love of self? How many times do I chose what I want over what God wants for me?
Paul instructed the Colossians: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” This decision to love the world or not – to love the Father or not – must be made time and again.
We must examine our lives and our hearts before God. Where is our affection set? Where do our loves in life reside? Do we love the Father or the world and the things in the world? Are there things in your world that are separating you from God? That’s a pretty good indicator. Is your way more important than His way? Is what you want more important than what He wants for you? What have you done in the last twenty-four hours that will count for eternity? Have you bought into the world’s system that is focused only on the here-and-now and leaves nothing for the unseen eternal?
Have you chosen to love the world more even though it means loving the Father less? If you study the words of John you see that it is not quite like that. He didn’t give you the option to love the world a little and still love the Father and justify the duality by somehow trying to convince yourself you love God more. He stated it quite clearly, “If you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you.”
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Life at its best measure – its most abundant – will not be life lived to the world’s standards and colored by a love for the things of the world. The world says, “Me first!” He wants us to say, “He must increase; I must decrease.” The world says, “Seize the day!” He says, “Remember eternity.” The world says, “Love yourself.” He asks, “Love me.”
Jesus, in the Beatitudes, gave us the best measure of determining who and what we really love. Can you pass the test? The real answer to that question lies in another. Where is your heart?
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”