1 John 2:15-17
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.
There’s a poignant scene near the climax of Forrest Gump that features Forrest declaring to Jenny, “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.” Forrest knew in his heart what he felt for Jenny, and he recognized that feeling as love. Most people know what it’s like to fall in love, to have those tingly, amorous feelings for another person. Romantic love is easy to identify, but even if we are smart people, we may not quite understand what John means when he warns us against loving the world. Do you love your house and furniture? Do you love your bank account? Do you love the team you root for or your favorite place to visit or that flavor of ice cream you always order? Is love even the right word? I hope you don’t love those things the same way you love your spouse, your children, your parents or your friends. And more to John’s point, I hope you don’t love anything in this world as much as you love God.
Love should be reserved for relationships that endure. Parents love their children all their lives, no matter what. Husbands and wives are supposed to love each other “till death do us part.” God’s love for you will last all eternity. To love something in this world, however, is to set yourself up for disappointment, because all worldly things eventually pass away. The Spirit invites you, in this passage, to examine the priorities of your heart. Where do things like money, possessions, jobs, even places and experiences rank in comparison with your relationship with God? It’s fine to enjoy the good things of this world. It’s fine to like places and possessions, but if any of these worldly things creep toward the top of your heart’s priority list, it’s time to rekindle your love for God.
Nothing – no thing – should rival your love for God nor, in a close second, your love for family, fellow believers and neighbors. These enduring relationships should rise above any desire you feel for everything else. You will often face temptations to love worldly things, especially things like money and prestige. Your heart can easily be deceived into mistaking lust, greed and vanity for real love, which is why you need to build up your love for God, nurturing it every day through prayer, worship, the reading of scripture, fellowship with other believers, obedience, and acts of compassion. In these ways, your love for God will grow deeper and stronger than any affection you may feel for the fleeting things of this world.
Father, I love You. Keep me from the temptations of this world and help me to focus my heart on You and the good things You have called me to do. I pray through Jesus my Lord. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian