Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. I John 2:15
In this verse, we see the second reason why believers should overcome the world. Love of the world conflicts with love of the Father. The Scripture draws a hard line here, it is impossible to divide our affection between the world and God.
While the love of God may be shared with other believers through koinonia, it cannot be shared with the world. As I stated in an earlier post in this series, it is both possible and desirable that Christians should maintain fellowship with unbelievers, (we will never reach them otherwise) we cannot enjoy the same level of fellowship with them that we do with God and the brethren.
The “world” here, of course, refers to the world system. It is descriptive of all that is produced and affected by the world. This would include materialism, secular culture, humanistic philosophy, religion and power. John was familiar with the pull of the world:
- As a commercial fisherman he was familiar with the temptation of prosperity.
- As a conquered Jew he was familiar with the temptation of political power.
- As a disciple of Christ he was familiar with the temptation of popularity vs persecution.
- As a bishop of Ephesus he was familiar with the temptation of worldly philosophy.
Loving the world produces negative consequences in the life of a Christian. It will cause them to forsake fellowship with Christ and other believers. It will cause them to become a respecter of persons, seeking the favor of men more than that of God. It will cause them to be overcome by their pursuit of pleasure and possessions. And it will prevent them from being able to please their heavenly Father.
This does not mean that we should not own or even enjoy the things that are in the world. It is impossible to live without the things of the world (some of them, anyway). We are not, however, to let them steal our affection away from God. He is to be the love of our life. With all that we are, we are to turn our hearts toward Him.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.