Be a lover (of God, not the world)

I’ve been struck yet again by the power of God’s Word. Talk about a wake-up call to how I conduct my daily life!? My emotions, attitudes, thoughts, words, and actions are all affected by these powerful verses from “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

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 in possessions—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

To get a better understanding of this seemingly simple passage, I consulted an expert on the book. Here’s an excerpt from what he had to say on the issue of “flirting with the world”:

You don’t love it, you’re not married to it, you’ve been separated from it, you’ve come into the family of God and yet it is alluring to you because of your fallenness.  What am I talking about?  What books do you love the most?  If you love any worldly books more than the Word, if you love any worldly songs more than the hymns, if you love worldly people more than people of God, if you love worldly activity more than worship, if you love any endeavor more than service to Christ, if you seek any reward more than well done, good and faithful servant, you are being seduced to flirt with the world.  And Scripture says, “Set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth.”  Be that spiritual young man, strong in the Word, who overcomes the world.

The key phrase here is, “…more than….” I often find myself being tempted by the “alluring” nature of worldly things. (This is not to say I “love” the world or the things in it. Also, this does not mean that the temptation itself is sin. But that’s really a topic for a much later discussion.) I believe a majority of my “more than” situations relate to my usage of time. Where do I find myself spending the majority of my “free” time? I can honestly say I don’t spend it on the things of God. That being said, I just challenged myself to live up to God’s perfect standard of holy living and cast aside all worthless practices. If my life is not consumed by God’s Word, I’m going to have a pretty rough time trying to keep this lofty goal.

Another passage I’m studying paints a very clear b&w picture:

Train yourself for godliness…. 1 Timothy 4:7

“Train” more than implies hard work. I must put forth a great effort to achieve the goal set before me. If my desire were to run a marathon, I would be foolish to think I could just waltz right into the race without any previous training. (Incidentally, I’m hoping I can keep up my running to the point that I CAN run a marathon someday. Note to self: add “run a marathon” to my bucket list.)

There are a host of other passages that address the topic of striving towards the goal of “walking in a manner worthy.” Instead of putting my selfish desires to practice, I am to put on Christ and seek Him above all else, in everything I do. Here are a few of my favorites:

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

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. Ephesians 5:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

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