Quietly Through 1st John (Week 5) :: Do Not Love the World (1 John 2:15-17)

It’s Tuesday! Welcome back. Can you believe we are already in week 5 of our Quietly Through 1st John Bible study? If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in the series, please check them out here.

Do Not Love the World

15 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. 16 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.17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

IDEAS TO CONSIDER

  1. Are we to love worldly things?
  2. If you love the things of this world can the love of the Father be in you?
  3. How does one abide forever?

COMMENTARY

(This is just a little bit of what I took away from the passage. Remember, I’m human and severely flawed. Don’t just take my words as God’s truth. Be sure to be led by the Spirit, not me.)

The world is, according to Strong’s concordance, “the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasure, etc…” What do you think of as you read this definition? In general, I think of houses, cars, a family inheritance passed on from generation to generation. I also think of the pursuit of career advancements, the desire for fame and fortune, and the desire to be entertained and stimulated – whether sexual or not.

Strong’s further defines the world as the things “which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ.” Some of the things I mentioned above may seem obvious obstacle to the cause of Christ, but all of them? A house? A car? Simple entertainment?

We need to look at another word in the passage to see where the problem really lies — love. The original Greek word is agapao. Today we often refer to this type of love as “agape love” and it is the same word used over and over again to describe Christ’s love for us. It is the love that led Him to undergo suffering and death for our salvation. When focused correctly, agape love is a pure, selfless love.

When focused correctly, agape love is a pure, selfless love. Click To Tweet

However, when focused incorrectly, when focused on things other than Christ and His Church, agape love becomes nothing less than an addiction to worldly stuff. When we love a worldly thing it means that we prize a frail and fleeting object more than we prize our Savior. It means that we believe that we cannot do without it and nothing, not even Christ, can replace it if we were to lose it or give it up. It means the we are unwilling to abandon this worldly thing for the cause of Christ — to bring the gospel to the world. And it ultimately means, as the passage says, “the love of the Father is not (us)” (v15).

When focused incorrectly... agape love becomes nothing less than an addiction to worldly stuff. Click To Tweet

Take a moment to consider the worldly stuff that you think can’t live without. Ask yourself if you are willing to give any of if up for the cause of Christ. Take some time to evaluate your heart: do you have an agape love for any of the things of the world? Better yet, ask the Holy Spirit to evaluate your heart and to reveal any misplaced love.

Search me, o God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Here are few questions to ponder. Please, feel free to answer any of them in the comments section or contact me privately.

  1. List several things in your daily life that fit Strong’s definition of the world. Do you love them?
  2. How do worldly things distract from the cause of Christ?
  3. Have you identified some worldly things in your own life that are distracting you from the cause of Christ? What are they? Pray and confess with 1 John 1:9 in mind.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

PRAYER

Lord, I know there are things, seemingly harmless and innocent things, that I love and are of the world.I don’t want to spend my time on earth addicted to stuff that is passing away. Instead I want to commit my life to the cause of Christ. I want to spend my time meditating on You and learning to walk in obedience. Thank you for faithfully forgiving me and cleansing me of all unrighteousness. In the name of your Son I pray. Amen.

FURTHER STUDY IDEAS

Here are a few study ideas to do between now and next Tuesday. I suggest doing one or two a day in order to keep you thinking about the passage all week long.

  • Start or continue a double entry journal.
  • Hand write the passage.
  • Do a word study for any of the words that caught your attention.
  • Did this passage make you think of other passages in the Bible? Share those passages with the rest of us in the comments.
  • Read Genesis 3:1-6 focusing on verse 6. Consider how Eve fell for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
  • Read Matthew 4:1-11. Consider how Jesus resisted the lust of the flesh (vv 2-4), the lust of the eyes (vv 8-10), and the pride of life (vv 5-7).
  • Write a summary of what you’ve learned from this passage. If you are a blogger, write a post and share it in the next #QuietlyThroughThursday.
  • Take some time today and ask the Lord to reveal to you any missed placed agape love that you may have. If need, spend time repenting.
  • Read 1 John 1-5. Yep, the whole thing.

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