world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives
forever.” (1 John 2:17)
Anytime the warning ‘Do not love the world..,’ is sounded, we ought to pay heed; otherwise we run the risk of exposing ourselves to great dangers that could compromise our walk with God. There are quite a number of hidden dangers in secret places. The raison d’être therefore, each time this red flag is hoisted, is to open our eyes to the hazards of tripping headlong into pitfalls unawares. We also run the risk of coming against immense obstacles we might not easily extricate ourselves from if we are not on the alert.
The ways of the world are at times complex and intriguing, calling us to tread cautiously or take calculated steps. The world constantly preys on the innocent, on unwary simpletons and unsuspecting minds. Satan, the prince of this world, has veiled the eyes of the people who would walk straight into his snares as willing victims. All of his devices are intended to confound us. Mark you, the world is a minefield of traps that Satan has put in our way so we would fail in our bid to fulfil God’s will for our lives.
Our love of the world strains our relationship with God. “God knows [our] hearts what is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15) We cannot love God and love the world, the two are mutually exclusive. To choose the world is to make a deliberate choice to do things our way, mindless of the long-term consequences. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does---comes not from the Father but of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
But we do not belong to this world, we are in transit. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of this world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:19)
Our worldly ambitions become futile and ineffective in determining our route to heaven. The cares and pleasures of this world are not credentials that would qualify us for a place in heaven. King Solomon describes them as vanity, unprofitable and a false security; “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:38-39)
God is calling on believers to be on the lookout. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is---His good pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) We are equally being asked to “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2)
Addressing His disciples, our Lord Jesus put them on their guard that this world is temporary. They should therefore fix their eyes on the things that matter, that have a lasting impact. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole and yet lose or forfeit his very life?” (Luke 9:23-25) Life loses its meaning and value when we spend time chasing futilities -- things that will not last.
On Judgement Day, all our works will be tested, “... the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:13b-14)
Let us therefore seek to live as pilgrims conscious that our permanent abode is in heaven. We are just passing through. This world is not our final destination. With this in mind, the apostle Paul proclaimed. “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)
Denying ourselves and crucifying our bodies to the ways of this world are key to not losing the objective of living this life and not falling victim to the attractions of this world. We can amass enough wealth in this world but all of it would be worthless in the hereafter. Our Lord Jesus does not want even one of us to perish, the reason He came to open our eyes to the dangers of going the other way which looks so attractive but is ruinous to our wellbeing.
He recommends in His capacity as the Way and the Truth and the Life abundant life that He alone gives. “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:25) Let us consider living our earthly existence by loving God and not the world and in this way clothe it with eternal purpose and meaning. Amen!