Brothers, Sisters, Family,
In these past weeks I’ve come up to a point in preaching through the first letter of John that I had some dread about, verse 2:15, “Do not love the world nor anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” Truly it’s a hard word and it’s hard to find grace there sometimes. Yet, contrary to what it may seem, that passage has been one of the most moving in my life in Christ. Before Christ I had lived and failed to find satisfaction, freedom and what I dreamed of as true life in the world. I ran hard from church in my 20s. I was present in body but absent from the Lord, what God says as drawing close with the lips but being far in heart. I was born as a quiet, compliant, obedient child but I fed rebellion in the recesses of my heart. Truly it’s there in all of us. Mine just surfaced in a different way. As I fed my idols my life grew more senseless and my moral lines blurred as my heart grew hard with lesser love and almost nonexistent compassion. When I came to myself, when God came to me, it was verses like this and those like John 10:10 “The thief comes to steal kill and destroy but I came that they may have life and that to the full” that brought me out of desperate straights and called me to be separate.
God has always called His people to live a separate life. Not because He’s a jerk bossing everyone around but because, when you’re His child you get to experience the best of Him, the best in
life. We’re not so foolish to believe that’s a life without trials but my has the Lord not shown me and countless millions the joy of life and true peace through the heights and depths of life! Go
ahead and read Deuteronomy sometime! It is a pleasant challenge because the commands he called the Israelites to as His own chosen, separate people are hard and the warnings notable but the blessings
beyond imagination! Take time to note how many times God says why He’s about the business of giving all those commands. Over and over and over again He says, for our own good, so that we might live
long, so that we might prosper in the land and experience true life. God’s way is best. Ironically, despite such warnings, like the child that runs headlong into error when told not do something,
mankind has been enjoying doing the same for ages. In the United States it seems we’re doing that like never before! Watch the fruit rise up from this era in our history. Unfortunately we’ll be
shocked and horrified by what we see, if we aren’t already.
So why do we keep ignoring our Bibles and keep accepting it as better to invest in worldly entertainment and worldly priorities? The world busies itself with occupying your time and interests, impressing on you its values for what belongs in your day and telling you how you should live your life (remember that jerk thing?). It all seems so innocent but look around at our world and ask yourself this, how did we get here? How did we get so busy and lose time to live with, love and invest in our families? How did our world become brutal and senselessly violent? How has our world fallen off its moral hinges? It’s the same as it always has been… progressive, small compromises. Remember when married couples on TV didn’t sleep in the same bed? Remember a show called Three’s Company being controversial, The Simpsons? What are you watching today? How did we get here? Compromise, little compromises.
The truth is, the world, with its views and priorities, has nothing useful to offer. Its best offer is just another idol to steal your time, to take you from God, from your family, from the simple yet thoroughly satisfying joys of what God has always offered or an offer of another slanted view to muddy the waters and throw us into confusion. That’s what John was getting at when he wrote the line above and he finished it in verse 17 with “the world and it’s lusts are passing away, but the one who does the will of God will live forever.” Sounds a lot like what God always promised.
How about we cut ties with the world today? I’m not up for empty living. I don’t have enough time for that.