I John 2:15-16 “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 the world.”
How can we live in this world and be godly girls? He doesn’t want us to live in a bubble. While it would make life a lot easier if we were constantly surrounded by people who share our beliefs, we would be missing out on showing the love of Christ to people. To do this, our thoughts, beliefs, and actions need to align with His. So, what does this look like?
Let’s take what this passage states is worldly and compare it to what God wants:
· A craving for physical pleasure- This includes the need to fulfill physical desires, and wanting your own way. In contrast, God values self-control. Needing to fulfill physical desires, and wanting your own way are traits that remind me of children. Little children don’t know that things like having ice cream for dinner isn’t good for you. When you try to tell them, they throw a fit because they want their own way. We are children of God, and He gives us knowledge through His word to see what is good for us and what isn’t. We might not like what it says and throw a fit because we don’t like it, but He’s our Father and knows what is best for us. A lot of people have the philosophy that whatever you do is okay as long as it “feels good”. This is in direct contrast to what God says. We need to be able to control ourselves among things that tempt us physically.
- A craving for everything we see- This includes wanting everything for yourself. In contrast, God values a spirit of generosity. In other words, we aren’t to be selfish. Look up the word “selfish” in the thesaurus and you will see synonyms such as: egotistical, narcissistic and self-obsessed. If you overheard someone describing you and they used those words, how would you feel? I certainly don’t want God to use them when he describes me. There is a lot to be seen and wanted in this world. The key word is “love”. Do we love these things? When you love something, you want to spend every moment with it. You allow it to shape who you are. If you love a material thing more than you love God, this thing will cause you to stumble. Having nice things isn’t a problem, the problem is our hearts. Has the desire to have this thing become more important to you than your desire to seek God?
· Pride in our achievements and possessions- This includes wanting to appear important, and getting more and more stuff. In contrast, God values a commitment to humble service. All things that we have and accomplish are His. He gives us each talents so that we can use them for His glory. He wants us to dream BIG, but He doesn’t want us to get so caught up in it that we become obsessed with how we look to others. We applaud our children for great report cards or an outstanding performance, and this is okay. We want our children to do well, but we need to teach them to have a humble heart when they are recognized for their talent. It can be tough to keep the balance between healthy self-confidence and being prideful. It’s important to let our children know that we believe in them, and teach them to do what’s right by setting an example with our own lives as we recognize that our gifts and talents have been given to us for His purpose, not for something to boast about.
Every day, we have a choice to make. Will we serve ourselves today, or will we serve God? This isn’t always an easy decision. The enemy is sneaky. He has found ways to smoothly invade many Christian circles by twisting the values of the people involved. The world and all that it holds and promises will eventually disappoint you, but Jesus Christ will never disappoint. A walk with God is all or nothing. Are you all in? Do your actions reflect the things that the world values, or the things that God values? Think about it.
Passages to ponder:
- I Peter 4:10- God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
- James 4:4- You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
- Romans 12:2- Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Contributors: Kathy Derda, Jodi Dunbar, Tammy Holtzapfel, Jamie Leary, Kim McClure and Marla McDonald