Day 3

Loving the World

from the 1, 2, and 3 John reading plan


1 John 2:15-27, James 4:4-7, Isaiah 61:1-4

Our culture is obsessed with love. We love to love. 128 songs with the word “love” in the title have topped the US charts since 1943—from Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” to the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” to Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” And yet, for all of our obsession with love, no concept is as undefined and misunderstood.

A friend of mine recently summed up the essence of this problem when he said, “Love is the most abused word in our culture.” Despite our unwillingness or lack of ability to define love, Scripture gives shape and form to this all-important element of the Christian’s life.

As the “Apostle of Love,” John mentions love 26 times in 1 John. When he comes to explain the nature of love in action, he does so by first telling us what we are not to love. He writes, “Do not love the world, and the things in the world” (1 John 2:15). We are not to set our hearts and affections on the things of a world that is under the sway of the evil one. John goes to great lengths to define what these things are, to avoid any misunderstanding. The love of the world is found in “the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride of life” (1 John 2:16).

These are the same three patterns of temptation that we find in the opening chapters of the Bible. In Genesis 3, we are told, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food (i.e. the lust of the flesh), and that it was a delight to the eyes (i.e. the lust of the eyes), and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise (i.e. the pride of life), she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6). Satan tempts God’s people to seek to please the self rather than to love the Lord.

Just as Satan tempted Eve in the Garden, so he tempted Jesus in the wilderness: “command these stones to become bread” (i.e. the lust of the flesh); “he showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” (i.e. the lust of the eyes); and, “If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down” (i.e. the pride of life) (Matthew 4:1-11).

The manner by which he tempts us today is still the same. The particular temptations may differ, but the way they work upon the mind and heart of man are the same. The evil one tempts us to love the world and the things in the world by getting us to take our eyes off of Jesus and the purposes of God that are fulfilled in Him.

John closes his explanation of love in action by telling us what we are to love: “whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). Jesus overcame the temptation to love the world and the things in it by remaining steadfast in His commitment to His Father’s will. He did this to redeem those for whom the Father had sent Him. Jesus abided in the love of His Father by obedience so that we might now abide in the love of the Father by faith in Him.

He who abides in the doctrine of Christ—against all the false teaching that detracts from Christ—abides in the love of God and ultimately overcomes the world. This is love in action.

Written By Nick Batzig

Post Comments (5)

5 thoughts on "Loving the World"

  1. Sean Morecraft says:

    So we see that our desire for love takes a twisted turn for the worst. In the sweet, pure, and natural desire our deceitful hearts spoil it. We trade the love of God for the love of the world. We desire food, sports, movies, and even relationships over God. We are always more willing to strive for those things. Why? Romans 7:21-25 speaks of Paul admitting that he does the things he does not desire to do, but the things he does want to do he goes against. Jeremiah 17:9 says “the heart is deceitful above all else.” Our hearts and affections wander because our hearts are evil. They do not naturally desire things of God anymore, due to sin. “What causes fights and what causes quarrels among you? Is not that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1)

    So what do we do when we catch ourselves loving the world? “Submit yourselves to God. Resist he devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:7-8) “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22:40) When we feel our hearts start to wander we submit ourselves even more to Christ. Set up guards in your life. Withdraw from certain places, things, or activities. Spend time getting to know God as he is in his Word. When you begin to submit yourselves to Christ in all you do, there you find a deeper love for him.

  2. Ben Garcia says:

    The example in Genesis 3 is haunting.
    It cuts to the root of my selfishness,
    My rebellion,
    My sin.
    Lust of the flesh, Lust of the Eyes and the Pride of Life.
    My prayer is from the old hymn:
    “Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
    Look full in his wonderful face.
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
    In the light of his glory and grace.”
    Amen

  3. Donald Hart says:

    What is it that causes me to take my eyes off Jesus? What love of the flesh, the eyes, of pride do I suffer? Yes I say “do” because there is no doubt that I suffer one…or even all. In every moment I feel a struggle for the affection of my heart. The things of this world call but I must resist. I must keep my eyes on the author and perfecter love so that He might be found in me and I in Him.

  4. Christoper Olson says:

    Loving Jesus can be really hard sometimes. The worlds desires are so tempting. Trying to gain security and peace without God are my biggest temptations. I want to know the future, know everything will be okay. The fact is that God said everything will be okay. (Rom 8:28) Forgive me for worrying Jesus and making this world my friend in that.

  5. Kevin says:

    Day 3: I think things in the world can be put into a couple categories. Things that god made that we lust for ourselves, things that god made that we love, and things of Satan. For example, I believe God created marriage, and marriage is good. It’s something that we can love. But for me to lust or desire it like crazy for myself is wrong because I want it for me, not for the glory of the lord. Love is such a beautiful and powerful thing, and it needs to be given to the right places. The devil wants us to give it to the world as that pull us further from God. I love y’all!!!

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