Remaining in God
Open Your Bible
1 John 2:15-27, Isaiah 61:1-4, James 4:4-7
BY Rebecca Faires
Over coffee and croissants overseas, I listened to my new European friends talk about the United States. Together, we laughed over the stereotypes of Americans, but quietly, my little heart protested. After all, the people I love most and hold dearest are among those Americans. I’m one of those Americans. The thread that tied me to my family and friends at home is strong, and despite our national foibles, the States are my home.
When I read this passage in 1 John, I immediately shrink back and mildly peep: But I love this world! It’s where all my favorites live! I’m crazy for the mess of small-town fall festivals, the sight of new dresses from fancy stores, and the secret glee that comes from winning at a game of cards. I love the world, and I miss going out and connecting with other people in it. What could John possibly mean when he says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world”? (1John 2:15).
The world, intrinsically speaking, is made to be good. God Himself declared it “very good indeed” (Genesis 1:31). So John isn’t questioning the beauty of a sunset, but rather the things of this world that pull our affections away from God. “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1John 2:16). Those three categories belong to the world, according to the inclinations of our hearts.
The lust of the flesh: Do we indulge our bodies with food, drink, touch, and comfort? Are we seeking luxury over knowing Christ?
The lust of the eyes: Do our minds crave worldly extravagance and grandeur? Do our ears strain for applause and accolades?
The pride in one’s possessions: Do our eyes rove for treasure, possessions, and delights? Do we covet the trinkets of the world?
My answer to all these questions is, “Yes, a thousand times, Yes!” Gimme those tacos, massage my feet, get me a robot butler, and bring down the house with your applause. We’re all enticed by the comforts of this world. But John is teaching us that all these delights belong to the world, and the world is passing away (v.17). We shouldn’t tie ourselves to a ship that’s sinking.
Instead, we should tie ourselves to our anchor, Jesus Christ, who is pulling us heavenward. We should “remain in Him,” and keep His ways (1John 2:27). We should reserve our deepest affections for God, rather than throw them away on ice cream cones and iPhones. Before social distancing, the world seemed so readily available. Easter Sunday would come, and it was easy to distract ourselves with singing over a new dress, rather than genuinely praising the risen Christ.
But the love of the Lord is infinite and lasts forever. The Spirit’s peace never fails us. And while this world and its trappings are passing away, our hope in Christ’s promises is secure. He is our rock, quieting our hearts in the midst of whatever chaos the world throws at us. He is our real treasure, and our very great reward.
90 thoughts on "Remaining in God"
Thank you for being so real in this writing. Yes, I too, desire the things of this world and I also know that I shouldn’t. That alone starts to tell me that my focus is wrong. Help me to refocus on you Jesus.
It’s so interesting doing this study now and reflecting on the beginning of the pandemic when it was originally done. We had no idea this would last so long and that 18 months later we would still be in it. Thanks be to God that the Bible is the living, breathing “book” that it is and that it meets us where we are every day and in every season.
Instead tie ourselves to Jesus & he will pull us heavenward!
I think it’s important to note that when the Bible is talking about ‘loving the world being enmity with God’ and ‘don’t love the world’, that it is talking about deeper issues than just food or clothes or applause. Yes, our desires should not be in those things but in God and the things of God. And yes, I completely agree that those things will not satisfy and will pass away. But I also think it’s important to note that the “world” is the system of the world so it may not necessarily be speaking of God’s creation of the earth but the actual sinful system of this world and all that it has to offer. So we, as Christians, can’t say we follow Christ but then agree with the world especially with moral issues or things that obviously go against the Bible just because it’s the popular opinion. We must abide in God, abide in His truth and His word and be careful that we are not allowing ourselves to become comfortable with the way that the world thinks or acts or offers. We can’t follow God and hold hands with the world. I appreciate this devotional but do think it could have touched on deeper spiritual issues. Especially in this day and age, when there are so many stating they are Christians but are completely going against what God says and stands for and instead are agreeing with the world on many different issues. We must stand with God and the things of God and stop trying to please both God and the world…it’s simply not possible.
A wonderful reminder as to what is truly important.
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