We use the word ‘world’ a lot in conversation. We talk about the world we live in, the world of music, the world of cars, the world of relationships. We talk about the world and how we need to take care of it, or our desire to travel it. We also talk about the world as a source of influence that directs our thoughts or decisions. As a result, we talk about the world in both positive and negative ways, which naturally leads to a lot of confusion about the world and what our relationship to it should be.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15
Let’s start by getting a basic understanding of how the Bible uses the word world because that will help us understand how we are to live in relation to it.
Created order – It is that which we can see, touch, taste, experience. God creates something without having anything to start with. God took chaos and created Kosmos—which included humans. It was purposeful and ordered. It was good!
Whole of humanity—like in John 3:16 – For God so loved the world! Who was it that he gave His one and only son for? It was for people, not for the mountains or oceans.
Arena of human activity – or where we live and move. This is a rather neutral way it is used. We live in the world.
Organized rebellion against God – It is a system of values and goals that God is excluded from. This is the world that is intentionally leading us away from God. It is not accidental. This is where the devil works to deceive people and direct us away from the truth.
When we talk about the world in 1 John 2 it is this one. We cannot love the world and love God at the same time. We don’t have the ability to do that. We cannot serve two masters. Jesus spoke about this also in the Gospels. Our love, devotion, and the things we value need to start with God first and nothing else.
There are three ways the world is described here that shows why our devotion needs to be to God.
The World is an Impostor….God is truth
If it is one thing we don’t like, it is being led to believe someone is someone else. The world is an impostor It is the devil’s attempt to remove glory from God, to try to take as many people away from God as he can and to do that he just bends the rules a little. He makes evil look, well, normal, or at least not too bad.
But, what it says “DO NOT LOVE” the world or anything in it. Stay away from it because it is a seductive force.
On the other side is God who is truth. Who was at the beginning. He is the author of the beginning. We were created in His image, to know Him, to worship Him, and He gave up His Son Jesus so that we could be forgiven from all of our sin.
The World Exploits your weakness….God gives you victory in them.
“For everything in the world — the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.” – 1 John 2:16
As we start to get closer to the world, it starts to tempt us with things that are against the Word of God in some very specific ways.
Flesh – this is the sin nature which has a nature bent away from God. Left unchecked it will naturally rebel. This flesh desires to do what it wants to do when it wants to do it. This tells you that f it makes you happy, go for it.
Eyes- things we see and want— The eyes bring in things that influence what we do. There are obvious things like movies, television and there is just how we perceive the world we live in. The world encourages envy and jealousy. God has a different way.
Pride – boasting – This says “look at me and how wonderful I am.” It is an arrogant way to live, but encouraged by the world.
God gives a better way. A way that keeps us in his will and away from the destructive path of the devil and his schemes.
The World Does not last —- The Lord is eternal
If you invest your life in the things of the world, you will die along with them. These things might seem fun to our flesh, but they do not last. Would you invest your life in something that you knew would not matter?
“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” – 1 John 2:17
There are many things that we could do with our life, but ultimately what is it that lasts? We know that when we obey God’s Word, we do God’s Will. God’s Word lasts!
The command is “DO NOT” love the world or anything in the world. The reason is because it takes away from God. In fact, it is the absence of God. We aren’t to worship ourselves, but God.
What are you investing your life in? How much is the world influencing you? Jesus invites you to follow Him and not the world. It is in HIm that we find eternal life and hope.