What do you think of our world? Sometimes I love it here - the beauty of tree, the power of the sea, the compassion of people! Other times it sucks to be in this world - the evil there is - wars, violence, greed, destruction. How does God feel about the world? And how should we feel about it?
1 John 2:15-17
John's words here make it sound like God hates the world but we know from what John says elsewhere that God 'so LOVED the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not die but have eternal life'. God loves the world he made and the people in it but that's not what the word 'world' means here. He's talking about the sinful and evil WAYS of the world that is in opposition to God.
God made our world to be good and in the beginning it was perfect. But these days it doesn't take a genius to figure out that something's gone very wrong and there is plenty of evil around in our world today. Just watch the news or scan the front pages of the papers and we'll see stories of real evil stuff that is destroying lives all around us. And (perhaps on a smaller scale but no less serious) if we're honest with ourselves we can see the same destructive, selfish tendencies at work in our own minds and lives. Much as we might try to always do the right thing, sometimes we are selfish, lazy, rude or whatever.
John mentions 3 areas where we often go wrong:
1. The lust of the flesh - this is obviously about sex and all the ways we're tempted to be ruled by our sexual appetites, rather than by the one who gave them to us.
2. The lust of the eyes - this is about materialism and coveting or wanting more and more money and stuff. It's a real distraction from what truly matter is life.
3. The pride of life - this is about running our own lives with our own priorities and ambitions with no reference to the God who made us and loves us.
These are just examples of what is wrong with our world. It's sin: S-I-N:
Shove off God.
I'm in charge.
No to your commands.
John says the world and its desires will pass away. Everything and everyone that's in opposition to God will go in the end. And John says that followers of Jesus shouldn't be tempted to love the things this rebellious world loves. As Christians we're likely to stand out a bit if we're living life the way it's made to be lived.
It's about where our focus is. If we focus on only the here and now (like most people do) then we'll probably be concerned with things like money, jobs, houses, families, cars, etc. All these things can be excellent and precious but if this is all that our lives are about then we've missed the point - God. The eternal God (no beginning, no end) has to feature in our agenda in this life. In fact, he deserves to be no less than number one. Unless we put him first in our lives and receive his forgiveness and hope - we will die with this world and be away from him forever. God wants to give us so much more than what we can see now! He wants to give us himself. He wants to give us eternity with him! Life to the full and life forever. A fresh start. Forgiveness. Hope, help, comfort and love like we've never known. Security, peace and joy.
Let's take our eyes off this world for a minute and fix them on God. Stop for a minute and rest. Close your eyes and ask God to show you what he has for you! Don't just read this - try it! God might want to surprise you!