What Not to Love!

February 23, 2020

All Scripture from NIV unless otherwise documented.

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2: 15 – 17

Do not love the world, or anything in the world. Right! How hard is that? I mean, there are a lot of things that I love in this world, and I would bet that you feel the same way about some of the things in your life. So, let’s look at this passage from the first letter of John and see if we can get a better understanding of what maybe John was trying to convey here, shall we?

The Greek word for world that John used here is the word Kosmos, spelled with a K. It has the basic meaning of order or arrangement. That’s a pretty good description of the cosmos, spelled with a C, or the ordered universe that God created for us to live in. But this word is also used in the Greek in reference to the inhabitants of earth, or mankind and it sometimes takes on the connotation of worldly or fleshly. Plato used the word in the sense of a world or universal viewpoint. And this word kosmos according to one source, defines the world not as a neutral influence
but as an “evil force”. . . enemy of God and of every believer.”

When John wrote, “do not love the world”, he probably had in mind a combination of all these things. As believers, the bible says that we are “aliens and strangers in the world.” 1 Peter 1: 2: 11 (1984 NIV) As such, we are not to become too attached to it. But John wrote further, “or anything in the world”. Not only are we not to have an unhealthy attachment to this physical world or the world system in which we live, but we are not to have an unhealthy love for, or attachment to the things in the world. Ouch! That is where we have a problem, or is it?

What kinds of things was John talking about here? Fortunately for us, he just happened to list them for us. I like the way the New American Standard version reads better than the NIV here so, from the NAS in Verse 16 we read: “For all that is in the world, (listen carefully to what John was referring to), the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life,” these are the things that we are not to love. These things that we are not to love, involve our mind and our emotions. The word John used is lust, which in the Greek simply means desire. It can be a passionate desire with either positive or negative connotations. “In our vocabulary, “lust” is usually taken in reference to sexual desire . . . Here it includes but is not limited to sexual lust. The etymology of the word in Greek is “to be hot after something.” In this context, lust is any sinful desire that is contrary to the will of God.”
The word flesh refers to the “human nature corrupted by sin. Apart from the grace of God, the flesh offers a bridgehead to sin in our life. “Lust of the flesh” describes what it means to live life dominated by the senses.”

So, the “lust of the flesh is a “disordered” desire for pleasure, gluttony, disordered sexual acts, drug & alcohol abuse, etc. What-is-the-difference-between-lust-of-the-flesh-eyes-and-pride-of-life-that-the-book-of-first-John-chapter-2-verse-16-speak-on-in-the-Holy-Bible It involves “all desires centered in your nature without regard to the will of God. It is that which constantly fights against the things of God in your life.”

The lust of the eyes is disordered desire for possessions. Theft, avarice, covetousness, and materialism in general. What-is-the-difference-between-lust-of-the-flesh-eyes-and-pride-of-life-that-the-book-of-first-John-chapter-2-verse-16-speak-on-in-the-Holy-Bible
To have a “’lust of the eyes,’ means we desire what we see. In Scripture, the eyes are the primary organ of perception and often the principal avenue of
temptation. We see that in the case of David who saw Bathsheba, lusted after her, and later committed adultery with her. As in the former phrase “lust of the flesh,” so here again sexual lust is only a fraction of the meaning of the phrase.” The ‘lust of the eyes’ describes someone who is captivated by an outward show of materialism.” The inordinate desire to have what we see is sinful. An inordinate desire to have anything contrary to God’s will is sinful.”

The pride of Life is the desire to be like God but apart from God. What-is-the-difference-between-lust-of-the-flesh-eyes-and-pride-of-life-that-the-book-of-first-John-chapter-2-verse-16-speak-on-in-the-Holy-Bible It “describes the arrogant spirit of self-sufficiency. It expresses the desire for recognition, applause, status, and advantage in life. . . This word in Greek translated “pride” describes the pretentious braggart. . . Everything we desire to have, to enjoy, or to pride ourselves upon, this is the “pride of life.” Everything from sensualism and self-indulgence to self-conceit; the ungodly gratification of fleshly appetites, of mental self-satisfaction, of egotistic arrogance; this is the pride of life. All false views of pleasure; false views of possession; false views of superiority; this is the pride of life.”

So the way I see it, and I could be wrong, the love that we are not to have is not, for example, the desire for sexual pleasure or for food or even for that Harley Davidson I now have, but it is a disordered, unholy, sinful desire for things to satisfy the flesh. When it comes to sex, Paul taught that “a man should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband”. That isn’t sin. The unholy desire to be with someone other than my wife, which would be sin. 1 Corinthians 7:3 When it comes to food, God declared all things clean to Peter Acts 11: 9, so it isn’t the desire for that piece of chocolate cake that is sin, but gluttony is a sin. Philippians 3: 19 Fortunately, Jesus didn’t mention Harley Davidson’s so that’s not even in the picture. (LOL) I hope you understand what I’m talking about and where I’m going with this. I don’t think that John was condemning the things of the world, but he was condemning an unholy desire or lust for things, whether it’s the lust of the flesh, or the lust of the eyes.

And then, the boastful pride of life takes it a step further. Stop and think about it for a second. What was the great sin of the angel Lucifer that got him cast out of the presence of God? His desire was to be greater than God. From Isaiah 14 we read concerning his fall: “12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will
ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 1 Peter 5: 5, referencing a passage from Proverbs 3 says that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” And in Proverbs 16: 18 we read “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” KJV

According to Catholic theology, “pride is considered, on almost every list, the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins: the perversion of the faculties that make humans more like God – dignity and holiness.”  “C.S. Lewis speaks for many Christian moralists when he calls pride “the essential vice, the utmost evil.” He asserts that pride “is the complete anti-God state of mind” (Lewis, 1980, pp. 121-22).

Why are these three things not to be loved? Because they do not come from God, but instead, they emanate from the world, the evil force that is opposed to God. The good thing is that the world with its evil desires will someday pass away. Those who love the world, and those whose passions are for the things of the world, it infers here, will pass away with it. But John says that those who do the will of God will live forever, referring I believe to eternal life.
As believers, we need to get a handle on the desires of our life. We need to insure that our desires are healthy desires and not unholy. We need to know what it is that we are not to love and strive every day of our lives instead to live our lives in God’s will.