1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
In first John 2:15, John gives a command to not have the habit of loving the world. Now he did not say, “that loving the material part of the world was wrong” (sky, mountains, etc…because it is good. Gen 1), but loving or being attracted to the world system that rejected Christ. We must not forget that as true Christians, this is not our home. We are just temporally passing through this world on our way into eternity (life is a vapor that vanishes away quickly. James 4:14). Do not get comfortable here.
I have heard it said that “if you are a Christian, this life is the worst it is going to get, but if you do not know Christ; this life is the best it is going to get”. I had a friend of mine that was a pastor’s kid that was trying to live two life styles (worldly and Christian). He knew the right things to do, but he really enjoyed living worldly, but he was feeling guilty for his wild ways. He wanted some advice so I told him, “That living your life as a half Christian, will make you 100% miserable”. He agreed with me, but sadly, he decided that this short life had more to offer. I did not get to talk to him much after that because he had gotten involved in some things that ultimately landed him in jail.
Basically, this mirrors the idea of Romans 12, about not conforming to the world’s way and thought process. This is a real test for today’s “Christians”, because if a “Christian” looks, acts, and thinks like the world system; he truly loves the world and “the love of the Father is not in him”. Ouch!!!!!! This life is short. Eternity is extremely long. Choose wisely whom you will follow: the ways of the world or Jesus Christ. There is no third option.
Joshua 24:15 …choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
If one has been justified, their life should be characterized by humility and love (Romans 12:3–21). One should fulfill his role in the body of Christ and not think too highly of himself (12:3–8). The main characteristic of a believer should be the love he has for others (12:9–21). A believer should submit to the authority that God places in charge, even if the authorities are unbelieving (13:1–14). Also, in the area of Christian liberty, one must be humble and not judge other believers. Out of love for the weaker brother, one should relinquish his own “rights”, bring glory to God, and not cause his brother to stumble (14:1–15:13)
In Hosea 6:6, God made a strong statement about his mercy, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” Really what he was saying here is that he wants us to show kindness toward man, especially to the lowly and needy, which especially need it. Throughout Deuteronomy, it speaks of the love that we should have with God. In the gospels, the Pharisees thought that closeness with God came by keeping ceremonial traditions and their list of rules, but this is not what God wanted. God desires love toward one another. The greatest or chief command is to love God with all our heart and the second greatest is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt 22:37) If one is truly following God, he would love his brothers and not cause them harm. (See Exodus 20, 1 John 3:10–11) Jesus took “love your neighbor” to a new level. He spoke of it as a radical love. He said that we should love the ones who persecute and abuse you for no reason. (Matt 5:4)
In Matthew nine, Jesus gets off a boat and does many miracles. He heals a paralytic, forgives his sins (which only God can do), He shows his omniscience by “knowing the Pharisees thoughts”, and allows a low life tax collector (Matthew) to become one of his disciples. Right in front of the Pharisees, there were many opportunities for them to show God’s love to needy people. Sadly, they were not interested in showing kindness or concern for the needy, but rather concerned about observing their own list of rules.
The big thing that can get me worked up (and causing me not to love) is seeing or hearing about someone who is being legalistic like the Pharisees. Outwardly, the Pharisees seemed to do the right things by following their rules, but in their hearts, they had no desire to serve God. Loving others is hard, but this world needs to see Christ’s love. His love can be seen as we show kindness, care, and concern to individuals who are struggling in this life. As we live our lives, we need to be sensitive to the Spirits leading, because there are many people out in the world who are hurting and who are looking for someone to love them. Sure it is easier to act like a Pharisee, by looking spiritual on the outside, than it is to love one another, but this is the way God chose, “he desires mercy and not sacrifice”.
I have heard it said that you can tell a man’s stress level by how many keys he has on his key chain. If this theory is correct, then I would rate very high on the stress charts, because I carry two sets of key chains. Since I have run a business, I have keys for my trucks, padlocks, and many many other things. I carry every key that I might need with me always. I do not feel stressed having that many keys, but I did yesterday when I could not find my second set of keys. The stress level started to rise when I was at the auto parts store. This was when I realized that my second set was not with me. Then I started thinking back to the last time that I seen them. Oh no! It has been over four hours since I remembered using them. Within those four hours, I had been to multiple stores in multiple towns, getting in and out of an old truck with rusty floor boards. Those keys could be anywhere. I called home for the search to begin as I started back tracking, trying to follow all of my paths. Unfortunately, they were not found even with all of our efforts. All evening and night, my mind continued to think about where I might have laid them down at. This morning I searched the garage and walked the entire lawn, driveway, and around and in every truck. No luck again. Frustrated, I began untangling an extension cord. As I was walking backwards toward one of my trucks, I heard a jingle. I looked down and there were my missing set of keys. They have been there in plain sight the entire time. How did we miss them? A great sense of relief came over me, as I began letting everyone know that I found my keys. It is funny how God uses episodes in our lives to remind us of his love and character. I was reminded of the parable of the woman with the lost coin in Luke fifteen. She searched for that missing coin extensively. Lamps were lit and she even swept the floor to be sure to get every corner. At last it was found! She let everyone know about her find and she wanted to share her joy with them. This story mirrors God’s character, as He does not give up on the lost one but pursues him. In the same way, there is great joy when that one comes into a right relationship with Him. What a wonderful joy it is to be in a right relationship with the Creator of the Universe.