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)
In a world that is passing away, there is a life that can be lived that has lasting significance. It doesn’t come by building monuments to yourself or writing your name in stone. It also doesn’t require any greatness by human standards. It is greatness that is accessible to everyone.
Whoever does the will of God abides forever. (Verse 17) What does that mean? It means the same thing that Jesus meant when he said this:
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:34-36)
Gain the whole world but lose your soul? This is the irony of the gospel. To become a Christian means the apparent loss of what this world says life is all about. How? To become a Christian is to turn from the desires and the sins of this world; to surrender my right to my own life. It is to place the God of the Bible on the throne of my heart through faith in Jesus. I surrender to his right to rule my life. It is to live a life for the will of God.
The world thinks that’s crazy. Who is really crazy? The guy who invests his entire life in things that don’t last or the guy who lives his life in this world investing for the eternal one? I say the world is crazy…respectfully.
Whoever does the will of God abides forever. (Verse 17) There is a life that can be lived and investments of time, talent, and treasure that can be made which even death cannot and will not destroy. Don’t live for what is fleeting; live for what is forever. The desire to do the will of God is a gift from God. Obedience is a fruit of genuine salvation so there is no room for pride on our part.
The takeaway here is a series of questions, which world am I loving? Which world am I living for? Which world dominates my thinking, cravings, and search for significance? What do my pursuits and obsessions say about whether I have a genuine love for God or not?
Look at the love of God. He wants to free us from attaching ourselves to a fleeting world. Look at those people on that Carnival ship. While they were drifting, how many of them would have bought stock in Carnival? “Why would I buy stock in this ship? It isn’t going anywhere.”
This world is adrift, powerless, and ultimately going down. But the child of God who doesn’t love the world but loves God and lives to fulfill his will, that is a life that will have eternal significance in a world that lasts forever. Love and live for God.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©2013 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here