Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives for ever.
1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)
Read: 1 John 2:15-29
Consider: Surely it can’t be bad to want to live in a good neighbourhood, have a nice house, dress well and have a good job? The passage above from 1 John teaches us that all the things we can desire from the world are transient and will pass away. While we acknowledge this as true, we often live as though possessions, etc. are the most important things in our lives.
I can remember as a young man starting work for the first time, and not having much disposable income, that money didn’t figure very highly in my thinking. Yet as my income and spending power increased year-on-year, it became the norm for me to want a financial buffer in my bank account at the end of each month. I can’t remember what the actual figure was, but I always wanted a particular amount to remain in my account at the end of each month. This is, of course, prudent and it is always wise to live within our means. However, the question must be ‘What gives us our security in life?’ I had to ask myself if I was getting my security from money, or was I really dependent on God?
I won’t pretend that I wasn’t as ambitious as the next person; in some ways I was probably more ambitious. I suppose what probably differentiated me from colleagues was that at each stage of my career I always wanted to be sure that I was in God’s will and would take time to pray about significant decisions in my life.
John uses the word ‘love’ with regards to loving the world, or loving God. It is not that we like nice things, or want financial security that is the issue here. The issue is whether our desire for God, or the world, is all-consuming. John recognises that if we focus our energies on satisfying physical desire, gaining possessions or craving status, these can all pull us away from God.
Pray: Father, help us to be honest with you about the things in which we put our trust. Help us to see that the things the world offers are transient. May we be challenged by you to put our focus back on you, so that we learn to rely on you more and more. Amen
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