15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Fatherd is not in them. 16For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17
Have you ever been driving home down a familiar road and missed your turn because you were distracted in some way, possibly by a random thought that crossed your mind, or even more unnerving to consider, a conversation you were having with yourself that was taking place? Come on now, you know we’ve all been there when our mind is elsewhere and we find ourselves several miles past the turn toward our destination because we were distracted – it could have been a distraction of simplistic proportions or one of more serious circumstances in our lives. Nevertheless, the Apostle John warns his readers here of ‘Distractions on The Journey’ of life that can draw them away from intimacy and close fellowship with their heavenly Father, leading them down paths away from true hope and life.
He begins with a warning that the ‘things of the world’ have little to offer in the way of spiritual nourishment, healing, restoration, and vitality. “15Do not love the world or anything in the world.” Considering anyone who love the things of the world, John says ultimately, they are chasing after those things - “If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” This is a stark warning of our need for God and that the things of this world will never satisfy the deepest longings of the soul – a genuine personal relationship with Jesus, life-giving hope that restores the hopeless, true light which shines in darkness, and the truth of God that we are redeemed and unconditionally loved. Thus, John warns of the snares of the enemy in this world that so easily cause us both false hope and to fall into sin, 16For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—come not from the Father but from the world.”
Each of these Lusts or Pleasures of Life deserve a proper definition for our daily spiritual armor and battle preparations. The Lust of the Flesh refers to sensual pleasures of the eyes, the Lust of the Eyes refers to covetousness or materialism, and the Pride of Life refers to pride in one’s perceived position in society. These lusts, which really can be seen as spiritual matters of the heart, are counterproductive as they become major distractions to both spiritual growth and our true identity in Christ Jesus our Savior, who desires to continue His work in us. John bookends this passage with an essential truth regarding the desires and passions of this life – they are fleeting and will pass away. They will come and go like waves in the ocean tossed back and forth by the undercurrents of life’s circumstances, yet he states, “whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
Today, remember to turn toward Jesus as your source of true identity and contentment, relying on God’s truth and promises, speaking His word over yourself moment by moment if necessary. Take small steps of obedience toward Christ today avoiding the ‘Lusts of the World’ by pressing into the Him, where you will find true peace, rest, and fulfillment traveling on the path He has laid out for your journey. May the desire of your heart be for the love of God to dwell within you through His Spirit day by day.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You for this day You have made, let me rejoice in it and find my delight in You alone. May the many distractions of this world continually fade into the background of my life as I pursue You more closely day by day. The things of this world grow strangely dim when I set my gaze on the light of Your glory grace. Give me the strength and will to pursue You Lord above all else, turning away from the things of this world that will not ultimately fulfill my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.