Monday, December 14, 2015

Jesus asks for Your Loyalty: God the Father or Money of this World (1 John 2:15-17)

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Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever
(1 John 2:15-17,

Apostle John here is telling us to be careful not to love the world or anything in it. Now what does John really mean by this? Does he mean the physical world – that we should go around and tear out all the plants and trees we see, pollute the air and water, and kill all the animals? Of course not. From the beginning of history, God told human beings to use the resources of this world carefully, for they were all created by Him for a special purpose (see Genesis 1:28-31). Nor John is telling us to hate the people of the world, for “God loved the world so much” (John 3:16).

If John does not mean the physical world or the people of the world then, what does he mean when he tell us “do not love this world”? I’m convince that what he means is the pagan society, the values of this world, and the ungodly-worship of false gods. This is the world we should not love. During the time of John (even today) he noticed that some believers had left their faith and joined other faiths, or had no faith at all. The persecution of the early Christians had been terrible – ridicule, imprisonment, torture, even executions. Understandably, the pressure had been so great that some Christians evidently decided that it just wasn’t worth all of the effort to maintain their faith.

The early Christians were having to pay the price for their faith in a way that many of us today may find hard to understand. Can you imagine if your job or choice of colleges or your very life depended upon whether or not you renounced your faith? (Oh, maybe you can) Now, can you imagine how strong that pressure might have been on the early Christians? But even then, no excuse – in the past, present or future – the Christian faith calls people to be special or unique, not necessary odd, just different. Our Christian values may be quite different from those who are nonbelievers. Instead of letting the world, our friends or neighbours determine what is important, we are to ask God and study His Word and live by Biblical values that show that we honour God and want to please God first over everything. “Anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”

Maybe you have felt this pressure from the world recently. Ours greatest pressure today is not in the form of persecutions but tolerant, comfort and conformity. For example, people entice you to join wild party and drink alcohol because it is “cool” today, or the world trends influence your hairstyles and makeup, or gaining your status and recognitions thru fashions and collecting materials, or having no religion or mixing all the religion into one, etc. even it is the dumbest things to do.

Way back when Lord Jesus was on earth, He made it very clear that love for God and the world are mutual exclusive. Jesus acknowledged how powerful the pressures are to have money and material things and said we have to choose between two masters: God the Father or money (represents all the values and ungodly worship of false gods): “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despite the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). The Apostle James went even further when he said: “Friendship with the world is hatred toward God” (James 4:4). Does Jesus really mean that we have to make such a choice, God or money? Can’t we have the best of both worlds? No. I’m afraid not. The powers and pressures of this world are so strong that a divided loyalty just doesn’t work in the long run.

The pressures of living in the world are so subtle but so strong that before long, our energies would go towards the worship of those things that are not of God – the need for power, popularity, and money. To “love this world” means to worship or be devoted to the world – to put your energies, attentions and hard works into making the world the most important part of your life. No matter how much we get of these things, it never seems to be enough. We can’t be satisfied with all of these except in God. The more you focus on the world, the less focus you have for God and what is really important in your life. Pleased God, not the world. Remember “Anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” Amen.


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