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.