“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, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.”
No matter how far we progress down the discipleship path, no matter how long we have been a Christian, there are some things about which we need a constant reminder. Here in 2.15-17, John serves up a much needed one.
Your life here and now, the world…the things in the world…will always be competing for your affections and loyalties against your priority for the love of the Father. Perhaps you read this and think “Well, what exactly is loving the world?” John explains in v.16:
“…the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions…”.
Very simply, and as John writes, everything that we desire from a fleshly perspective, everything we crave from a fleshly perspective, and everything we – frankly – covet from a material perspective is passing away.
So, simply, the things you feel like you need, the things you look at and desire, and all of your stuff that is oh-so-close to becoming an idol in your life, are all passing away. This being said, should you put so much time and energy and emotion and finance into them all? What does John suggest as an alternative perspective?
“…the person who does the will of God remains forever.”
In stark contrast to the fleeting pleasures we chase of vv.15-16, the life of fellowship and obedience and love lived with God, living in accordance with the will of God, this life remains forever.
As John wrote to encourage (vv.12-14), here in vv.15-17 it feels more like a challenge: are you loving the world, or are you loving the Father?
Are you loving the things of the flesh, or are you loving the things of the Spirit?
Are you putting your resources into things which pass away, or things which remain forever?