Setting Affections

“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…”

1 John 2:15

The world in this verse means that which excludes God and love for the world is that which entices and captivates our affections. In the next verse John explains what that is.

The “lust of the flesh” is appetites of the body or sensual gratification. James writes, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14). Those who persist in this way may find Romans 1:26 applicable, “God gave them up to vile passions.” “Lust of the flesh” may be in the form of pursuing physical pleasures, emotional comfort and freedom from the sexual restraint of one man and one woman in marriage. All these appetites have the ability to gain power and control over the one who feeds them. They are addictive.

The “lust of the eyes” is the appetite of the mind expressed in covetousness. We want something that belongs to another. It explains why we may be desperate to have something but, once we have it, we quickly lose interest

The “pride of life” is the appetite of the human spirit seeking self-sovereignty. This was the lie Satan fed Adam and Eve, “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Pride declares I am my own god. Self-esteem manufactured by trying to apply my own value will not satisfy. Self-esteem rightly applied means I realize the value that God places on me as revealed in such places as John 3:16 and Romans 5:8. Essentially, the “pride of life” is the deification of man. It is a futile attempt to deny God’s existence or sovereignty and our accountability to Him. By this we feel free to do whatever we wish.

In verse seventeen John gives us the reason for not loving this world: “the world is passing away, and the lust of it.” That surely speaks to the futility of pursuing things of this world. Those who love it will continue to lust for it in eternity but it will have gone forever. What a torment that would be for them!

On the other hand, “he who does the will of God abides forever.” No person with any wisdom invests in something he knows will be destroyed without a return on the investment. The wise investor invests in that which will keep on giving a return for that investment. John wrote this letter so that our joy might be complete (1:4). If we set our affections on Jesus Christ that joy will be fulfilled.

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