“Be careful what you love,” the preacher said one Sunday.
“What is that supposed to mean?” you may ask, “Aren’t we supposed to love the whole world?”
As a matter of fact, the Bible says not to love the world.
“Don’t love the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s. The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
What in the World?
That can be a confusing passage for some people to understand. Let’s think about just what exactly is meant when it says, “the world.”
When it says “all that is in the world”, it is directly followed by “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” So what it means by “the world”, I think, is not necessarily “the earth”, but the “secular world.”
1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
You might have heard someone say before that money is the root of all evil, but that’s not what it said. It said the love “of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” There’s where the difference is. Money in itself is not necessarily a bad thing and it can be used in many good ways, but it can also be used in many bad ways and the love of money can lead a person down a very bad path. As the rest of the verse states, “Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Sure, people like to have money, I like to have money, but the danger lies in loving it, in putting it on the top of our priority list, and erecting it in our lives like the Israelites did the golden calf.
The Beauty of the Earth
That’s not to say that we can’t enjoy life or the beauty of the earth. God wants us to be joyful.
“But let the righteous be glad. Let them rejoice before God. Yes, let them rejoice with gladness.” (Psalm 68:3)
Just looking at some of the glorious natural wonders that God made, it’s obvious that he meant us to enjoy them. However, he did not mean for us to worship them.
“You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)
That includes money, work, possessions, and people. Not that we’re supposed to neglect our work or the people we love, but that we’re not supposed to hold them up as idols or put them above God.
Is that your final answer?
The secular world offers lots of temporal pleasures. It puts them on display in the window like vibrant, glamorous, glittering mannequins and lures unsuspecting passersby into the store with enticing offers, but the Bible said, “The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.” We have a choice to spend all our lives in “the secular store” indulging in every pleasure we find there or to follow God. One offers temporary pleasures, the other offers an eternity of unconditional love. When it comes time for you to stand before God and tell him which choice you made, which do you want your answer to be?