Dead to Love for the World

Joshua West

“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. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV) 

Here in the West, especially in America, we have a version of Christianity that while not very biblical is very popular and it is easy to understand why. Because it's easy and attractive—a Christianity that says you can love your life here in this world and still have eternal life; that there is no suffering or sacrifice necessary as long as you say you love Jesus. Although Jesus says those who love him will keep his commands. This other version of Christianity that says you can love the world and all the things in the world as long as you love God also. 

It’s a not-very-subtle form of idolatry that values prosperity and success above all else. Most people use this worldly standard to measure the value of the church they attend and the life they lead. Although it’s not very subtle it isn’t easily identified because this is the culture we were born into and when you study the Bible as a Christian and begin to notice that what it teaches doesn’t look very much like many popular churches or television preachers, you are quickly told that the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. 

They must be doing something right because they are so successful. They are blessed! Most people equate blessing with financial success because that is how the world measures success, or by the fact that large crowds follow them, their books are bestsellers and they have large social media followings, but the Bible teaches something clearly different.  

Do Not Love the World
In the second chapter of John’s first epistle we see him telling us not to love the world or the things in the world and goes on to say if you do it shows that the love of God is not really in you (1 John 2:15-16). The truth is if the Spirit of God really lives in you, this world will become less and less attractive.
I’m not talking about the beauty of God's creation; I’m talking about a world system that is corrupted and opposed to God himself even though to some extent the Bible says that even creation itself is corrupted by sin. Success, acceptance, influence, wealth, power and comfort, these are the same things lost worldly people chase after, things the Bible tells us not to. But many Christians do except they do it supposedly in the name of God.  

You can’t pursue two different things at the same time, you can’t love both God and money, you can’t hold on to your life here and have eternal life, you can’t love the world or the things in the world if the love of God is truly in you. The words of Jesus in the gospels are so very clear but we so desperately want both that we fool ourselves into believing we can and then surround ourselves with teachers who validate this desire. 

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” 2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV)  

Do Not be Unequally Yoked
In Christ, we must die to the love of this world. In fact, the Bible tells us to come out from among them and be holy, not to camouflage ourselves and pretend we are like them. So many people within the church are desperate to be accepted by the world and the lost. It's almost like when you are in school when you were a kid and you want to gain acceptance from the cool kids but everything you do to get them to like you just makes you look more ridiculous, because it is apparent that isn’t really who you are.   

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.’” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (ESV)

As Christians, we must separate ourselves from unbelievers. This doesn’t mean we isolate ourselves and live in a commune somewhere, it simply means that we are separate in lifestyle and that we stand out because of it. 

Here is a question that all Christians should ask themselves: “What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever”? This is a rhetorical question with an obvious answer: nothing! We must come out from among them and stand out. If our lives are as narrow as they should be this will not be a problem. What does darkness have to do with light? Nothing! What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Nothing! We are only lying to ourselves if we believe anything different.  

In Christ,

Pastor Joshua 

Joshua West is a pastor, evangelist, and author. He is also director of the World Challenge Pastors Network.



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