Day 3

Remaining in God

from the 1, 2 & 3 John reading plan

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.

Post Comments (83)

83 thoughts on "Remaining in God"

  1. Amanda Mayberry says:

    Praying for time to ask the Lord to examine my heart and what my current habits, time, resources reveal what my treasure is. Great questions to ask ourselves frequently.

  2. Alisha Attella-Sevier says:

    4Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
    They will raise up the former devastations;
    And they will repair the ruined cities,
    The desolations of many generations.

    I love this so much—in this quiet time, maybe we are repairing our own personal ruined cities?

    1. Lily Alvarez says:

      Wow Alisha it is a beautiful insight. Jesus restores us. The gospel is truly good news

  3. Elizabeth Edwards says:

    Our enforced time-out really does give us time to look inward; so many of us have been living our lives going non-stop that this time is an interlude to look forward. How do I want to live the future years of my life? I wonder how many will think twice about returning to chaos… I know that I want to use my life in a more meaningful way than I have in the past; I think John would think it a good thing that we have the time to think a bit about our lives and what our futures should look like (not that this pandemic is a good thing by any measure; but we all know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him, and who are called according to His purpose–He can make good from anything that happens).

  4. Ashley HasbrouckYork says:

    Let us save our deepest affections for God.

  5. Staci Scroggin says:

    I have definitely given the world my affections from possessions to wanting praise. These passages are so true that Jesus is our ultimate prize and deserves our deepest affection and devotion. Jesus, help me to not focus on the world but to fix my eyes on you today.

  6. Stacey Cothren says:

    It’s funny how you notice the things of this world so much now. I long to go to a dark movie theater or sit in a restaurant. I’m even grumbling against the weather because it’s not allowing me to pursue my outdoor interests. When I can’t get outside I have to go inward. When i can’t escape my life I have to face it. When I face it I can choose to recognize my idols and pray or I can choose to harden myself and succumb to boredom through more self-numbing with tv, media, etc. I love that this time and this study have prompted me to really look at my priorities and examine my heart.

  7. Jeanette Yocum says:

    I love that Johns letters are so poetic and flow so beautifully.

  8. Shannon Colonna says:

    I too use to think these passages were about disliking earth and loving God and “heaven”. It made me avoid reading them because I do love the green tree lined roads of Washington and the warm sun drenched beaches of California. I never want them to pass away. So thankful I have learned that these passages are not about loosing what is “Good” (as God says of creation in Genius) but of about following the first born of the new creation of humans.
    God created humans for earth and from earth. It’s in our DNA to be attached to it. LOL
    I can now read these passages with the right focus and let them keep my focus right.

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