Love Not the World

2-2014 100-LR

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 forever.

1 John 2:15-17

Now that we are clear on who we are, and what the realities of life in Christ are, John turns to the world around us. John isn’t referring to the natural world, he’s referring to the world of Mankind; the culture, society, the impulses, the way things are here…  in this I don’t mean “culture” in the sense that John is speaking against literature or music or opera or culture in that sense, but instead the impulses and ways of men and society.  If we were to say that we live in a “dog eat dog world,” we would be referring to the impulses and ways of this world; that is what John is getting at. John is telling us that we are not to love the world or anything in it and if we do, we have a spiritual problem for sure.

The “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” are often cited as the three main categories of sin.  Clearly these do not come from God, for as John puts it, they come from the world. If you think about it, so much of what people consider important has more to do with impressing others than with anything else.  Why are we so often driven by career advancement?  Why do we need so much stuff?  Why is your living room fancier than your bedrooms?  Why do you need the fancy car instead of the economy car?  Must I spend $100.00 on a tie? Why do we want what somebody else has? Our knee-jerk answer to these kinds of questions might be “sin” but John goes deeper than that; this comes from the world.  Jesus nailed the thought down when He said that we “prefer the praise of men.”

In the final analysis, this world, its ways, and everything in it will pass away, but the love of God endures forever. Our Lord showed us a life that was lived for the love of God.  Isn’t that where our love should be? I’ve heard people say that we are here to fix the world, but I must state clearly that this is a mistake; we were never commanded to fix the world: The world is passing away!  We are commanded to share the love of God through Jesus Christ with people, so that they may be saved from the world’s fate.


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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12 Responses to Love Not the World

  1. Mel Wild says:

    Good explanation, and you’re making an important distinction between what is good in the world (culture) and what John is talking about. I also see the “world” here as us still eating from the wrong tree that Adam ate from. To quote Morpheus (Matrix), “It’s the world that’s been pulled over our eyes.” The world that the “god of this world” has blinded us to the truth by creating a “construct” of counterfeit pursuits (2 Cor.4:4). These have appeal because they counterfeit legitimate desires and dreams that God has intended for us. The love and fellowship of the Father is the best antidote to falling into this deception.

  2. I love this, Don!! We should be like Paul counting all things loss that we might know Him and the power of His resurrection!!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tom says:

    I love the point about our job is not to fix this world. It is only to proclaim the gospel message. And all Jesus is doing is saving souls, not fixing this world. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Pingback: Love Not the World | A disciple's study

  5. Citizen Tom says:

    There is a matter of priorities. We are not here to fix the world. Just the same, we are here to love our neighbor, and love does improve the world.

    The games we play with words! How confusing they can be!

    What is charity? Charity is something we do in love. When we give of ourselves for the sake of our neighbors, that is charity. When we are trying to fix something that is broken in this world for the sake of our neighbors, that is charity.

    Our political system is broken. Who would not say politics is of this world. Yet because our political system is broken, our neighbors are suffering or will suffer. So it is an act of love to work for political reform.

    Is working for political reform trying to fix the world? Perhaps, but it is also a way of fulfilling John 13:35 so the world will know He sent us (John 17:15-18). Selfless love is not of this world.

    The difference, as I see it, is that world that John condemns cannot be fixed. We cannot fix sin. We can only replace it with love. If we spurn that which is of the devil and cleave to our Savior, then what we do is not of this world.


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