Sometime ago, at a funeral an unusual performance took place after the eulogy.   The son of the decease sang a song by Louis Armstrong, a black American composer from the twenties.  He was famous for his gravelly voice and improvised trumpet playing.  One song made famous was “It is a wonderful world” and was played and sung as though “Satcho” himself was at the piano.  The song’s lyrics speaks mostly about the earth’s beauty and none would disagree that God did make a beautiful world.  But humanity and it’s rebellion against the Creator is not so wonderful.  The Gospel writer John speaks about sin’s effects and cautions against coming under its influence.  Some are not surprised to see that in John’s letter, John was present at the cross of Jesus,  that you could find recorded 41 times the word love in no fewer than 105 verses!  On one of those occasions we are told to love God, but in the same passage we are also cautioned not to love the world.

Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – (1 John 2:15 – 17)

We do know that the term “world” has to do with the humanistic system around us that is at odds with God.  This system of thought and actions may lead men into sinful ways.    Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! (Mat.18:7)

You cannot do any type of research into the Bible without hearing someone mentioning life principles.  These usually refer to concepts you can live by if you are a Believer. So here it is:   The Christian is to love humanity while resisting their attempts to cause you to think and act like them when it runs contradictory to the way God wants you to think and live. 

Christians are to love people who oppose the Lord even though these same people may hate the gospel and the way of life that we are called to.   Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed  (John 3:20).  We are told to love our fellow man:  for he who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the law (Rom.13:8b).  The parable of the Good Samaritan makes it clear we are not to pick and choose who we are to love (Luke 10: 30-37).

While Christians are not to embrace a system of thought, priorities, and conditions which are antithetical to God’s moral standards and holy conduct, keep in mind that Satan is behind the world’s system and promotes the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16)

God tells His children to set their priorities according to His eternal value system. We are to “seek first” God’s kingdom and His righteousness.  (Matthew 6:33b).   Adversely — No one can serve two masters (Matt 6:24a), and be devoted to both.  

What then are these things that attract human lusts?  Consider that the world’s philosophy is a way of thinking about yourself and your surroundings.  This state of thinking or consciousness is often filtrated for us by means of television, radio, friends and social media.   For instance much is made about personal appearance these days and seems to attract a lot of media attention.  People can become obsess with the way they look in our culture.  God has crafted each of us (Jeremiah 1:5) and is exact in what He has made us out to be.  No man-made painting, sculpture, photograph, or sketch can approach or match the craftsmanship or beauty that comes from His Divine Hand.  Now God does place some value on appearance; if He did not, we would all look the same.  While we are to appreciate physical appearance, we have souls that cannot be replaced or destroyed.   Our hearts are capable of so many thoughts and feelings, reflections of the complexities of God that we should not fall into the trap of making our personal appearance a source of pride and envy. True radiance comes from within, and not the way by which the world appraises our humanness.  Outward appearances and popularity should not occupy our minds if all we seek is the admiration from others as so many do already. If the reason we seek the perfect weight, wear the best clothes, have facial treatments is to impress other people, then our physical appearance has become a matter of pride.   The extreme emphasis the world places on appearance has caused many to stumble along the way and lose sight of the importance of life.  As often is the case covetousness and idolatry seems to be at the center of our lusts and it seems to have an unquenchable thirst in our society.

Popularity was mentioned because it is very common for us to seek acceptance.  Yet, when we seek personal validation and self-worth from people around us, we are on the wrong path.  An inordinate focus on being accepted by others can become a form of idolatry where self becomes more important than anything else including Christ.   The craving for popularity is part of the “pride of life” mentioned in 1 John 2:16. It feels good to the ego to consider ourselves popular, and we tend to bask in that feeling.   Jesus is our model.  He did not let temporary popularity or for that matter obscurity influence or dissuade Him from His purpose.  Men’s opinion of you should not matter more than what God thinks of you.

In the last verse, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (vv.17).  The current anti-God lifestyle will pass away!  No lusts will endure or temptation survive, all opposition to the cross will cease.   “But,” John writes, “whoever does the will of God abides forever.” When God’s love fills us, our thoughts, words, and actions respond, and we do His Will.  WE WILL SPEND FOREVER WITH GOD.  That is the Christian’s motivation.  This truth should help the believer to follow Christ and deny himself from being drawing him into a world of temptation.  It should also lead the non-believer to question his direction in this life and turn from it and follow Christ.

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