“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.”
What does it mean to love the world? Love the Father? What about John 3:16? Aren’t we supposed to love others? A key to this lies in how the term “world” is used. It can refer to the physical creation, to the whole of humanity or to the prevailing cultural systems & values we are invited to embrace.
John clarifies the contradiction between the world’s values and the kingdom of God for those who trust their lives to Jesus. That relationship shapes our lives. We cannot embrace the world’s values and Christ’s values at the same time. They are opposed to each other- sometimes at war.
God wants us to see the dissonance between what He gives and what the world embraces. He wants us to so love Him that we are protected from the dangerous currents of the world through deepened trust and sharpened discernment. Love for Him keeps us from the sickness of the world which seeks only to hurt, kill and destroy through dark deception.
Why does this matter? I took a prayer break asking God what He is trying to say? Here is some of what I heard…
“Don’t get caught up in the streams of this world. Its currents will pull you away from intimacy with Me, away from my will for you and away from things that matter most.
The world’s understanding of happiness, worth, success and fulfillment don’t flow in the same direction as Mine. They will not lead to the kind of life that I (Jesus) can give. The world promises happiness but gives pain, disappointment, addiction, emptiness, restlessness, and loneliness.
Love Me. You will find rest, joy, purpose, peace, wholeness, forgiveness, wisdom, strength and holy community. Come to me, rest in My love for you.”
Reflect on this: How do you face the tension between loving God and the what the world offers? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Join us Sunday or online to unpack these ideas further in 1Jn 2:15-17.