Reading from 1 John 2:15-17
John – Son of Zebedee, Son of Thunder, one of the three “inner circle” disciples of Jesus, brother to James, and the longest living of The Twelve Disciples, referred to himself in humility, simply as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
One of the things John writes about in his first letter is LOVE – the love God has for us.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16
John also writes about the LOVE that believers (should) have.
“We love Him (God) because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11
And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:21 (with John 15:12)
The Greatest Commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul & strength, and the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:38-39
Jesus even commands us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).
So…. what does John say we are NOT TO LOVE?
“DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR THE “THINGS” OF THE WORLD. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world … is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with it’s desires. BUT, whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
Just what ARE these worldly things we are to not love?
1. the Lust of the Flesh – This is the desire to INDULGE – your “self”
2. the Lust of the Eyes – This is the desire to ACQUIRE – more “stuff”
3. the Pride of Life – This is the desire to IMPRESS – other “people”
So then….what is “the will of the Father” (the desires or attitudes) that, in doing, results in life forever (in this context)? It is the OPPOSITE of the above.
1. “DENY YOUR SELF, take up your cross (the cross symbolizes death; death to self), and follow me (Jesus).” (Matthew 16:24)
2. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures (“stuff”) on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but LAY UP FOR YOURSELF TREASURES IN HEAVEN… (Matthew 6:19-21) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Matthew 6:21)
3. “HUMBLE YOURSELF before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10) “A broken and CONTRITE HEART, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
The Apostle Paul explains more…
“Put off your ‘old self’ which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
“Let this mind be in you, that was in Christ Jesus, who … made himself nothing …. who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:8-11
After reading the 1 John 2 passage (and connecting verses) I searched my heart to consider whom and what I love? Am I putting off those “deceitful desires” John writes about? Whose will am I seeking to do…. my own or God’s?
How about you?
“Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. And walk IN LOVE, as Christ LOVED us and GAVE HIMSELF up for us, a fragrant offering and SACRIFICE to God.”