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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
“Love not the world,” has been the calling card of many well-meaning Christians. They view it as the impetus to be set apart. They have heard sermons preached about “not loving the world,” and they purport that the key to living well is living with this perspective. God truly desires His people to be distinct. He desires them to look different, to believe different, and certainly to act different. Unfortunately this desire for His people to “be distinct” is taken too far in many cases. In a desire to be a “peculiar” people, some modern evangelicals strive to be as peculiar as humanly possible so that they can convince themselves they are more “godly.” This is not God’s design, and this certainly is not God’s desire. God makes it quite clear that there is a distinction between “loving the world,” and “loving God.” Immoral things are vile and wrong and should be avoided, but amoral things are not inherently wrong because they are not Christian. For example: Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-a are not inherently better than Wal-mart or McDonald’s. God’s distinction that He is trying to make is that some Christians miss the command to “love God.” They live their entire lives “living for God” as they see it, but they never truly become enamored by His grandeur; they don’t get plugged into His liberating truth; they don’t see Him as valuable; instead, they see Him as a list of uncomfortable and often embarrassing rules that they must awkwardly follow in order to earn heaven or a happy life. The point of this text isn’t that the world is full of soul-destroying darkness that will devastate you and disappoint God. Rather, it presents the truth that your “love of the world” is devastating to you and frustrating to the purposes of God in your life and in the lives of others. The driving desire of this text is not to create unsightly “followers of Jesus,” but rather that you walk away with a renewed desire to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.Food For Thought: Why does God desire that we not “love the world?”