“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”1 John 2:15
The word love is used in the English language to convey different meanings. For example, when we say, “I love pizza,” we are not saying we are in love with a pizza as we would be with a person. Instead, in that context, we use the word love to convey how much we enjoy eating pizza. Another example is when we say we love our dog or cat; it’s not the same as when we say “I love my wife or my husband” because our love for our spouse is far different than the affection and love we have towards our pets. However, no matter the language, a Christian’s love for God must surpass our love for anything or anyone else– even our spouse. God must be first and above all else in our Christian walk. the Bible teaches that “Unless You Hate Your Family, You Can’t Be Jesus’s Disciple. What?
So what is John’s intent in telling us not to love the world or the things in the world? It seems confusing because Jesus said to John and the other disciples that God so loved the world, yet here we have John telling us not to love the world. As Christians, should we also love the world as God loves the world? But wait! There lies the problem; Because of man’s propensity to sin, it’s impossible for people to love as God loves when their eyes and desires are drawn towards the world and things of the world. When someone draws toward the world, that person pulls further away from God, and while their lust for the world is full, they are empty of God’s love.
Does not loving the world or the things in it mean we cannot enjoy ourselves, take part in the splendor of God’s creation, or relish our life and those in it? Of course not. God wants to bless us, and He wants us to enjoy the life He has graciously given us, and yes, we can love pizza, cars, our pets, and so on. However, none of these should ever compete with our love for God, which must be first and foremost. When John tells us not to love the world, he means not to love and be drawn to the world’s system of corruption, lust, and sin, for those things are not of God, and those who love those things, God’s love is not in them. However, when we love God above all things, His love abides in us, and when His love endures in us, it extends through us to others. Jesus said it this way:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”Matthew 22:37;39
Therefore, let us always seek first God’s kingdom and love Him above all else so that His love will always abide in us and serve as a conduit to channel His love to others and reach the world with the good news, which is to say the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no greater expression of God’s love than Jesus’s redeeming work on the cross. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” and that’s what He did, he laid down His life for you and me. Is the Father’s love in you?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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