Do Not Love the World, Or Anything in It – 1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2:15-17 NIV

The word ‘world’ (kosmos) is used in a number of different ways in the Scripture. Here it seems to echo Jesus statement in Matthew 6:24; no man can serve two masters, God and money. John is referring to more than money here, but he is still talking about the treasures of this world, material possessions, pleasures, appetites, etc.; stuff that won’t last. John, and Jesus before him, tells us that we cannot have our cake and eat it too. Loving (and serving) the things of this world, and loving (and serving) the Father are not compatible.

Hold Loosely to Your Stuff

Does this mean that I need to get rid of all my earthly stuff? While some have done that, and advocate it, I do not believe the biblical record supports it. While the rich young ruler is told to sell all and give to the poor, that seemed not to be the case with most believers in the New Testament. I believe the issue here is not in having stuff, it is in how attached you are to that stuff. Are you willing to let go of the temporary in order to hold on to what is eternal (Matt. 6:19-21; 2 Cor. 4:18)? Are you will to give to others who are in need (Acts 2:45; 1 John 3:17)? Do you find your security and happiness in your possessions (Luke 12:16-21)? Hold tightly to the Father and loosely to the things of this world.

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