“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them. 16 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. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2.15-17
Like in much of Scripture we find a dichotomy. A division of ideas, a contrast between two things in opposition to one another. In this passage, we have 1) love for the world, and 2) love for the Father.
John tells the church not to love the world or anything in the world. Now I must confess, I love lots of things in the world. I love my family (does that count?), I love my truck — a seven year old chevy, and I love good food. Does John mean that we shouldn’t love these things? “If anyone loves the world,” John writes, “the love for the Father is not in them.”
Now a curious glance at the Greek (https://biblehub.com/lexicon/1_john/2-15.htm) tells me the word for love in all three instances is “agape”, or a variation of it. This is the type of love in which God loves us and in which we are to love God and only God. I believe John is telling us not to agape anything in this world but God. We can like things, or even “phileo” things (the Greek word for brotherly love), but we should reserve agape love — the deepest, devotion, abiding and everlasting love –for God.
This makes sense when I continue reading how “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.” What the world has to offer is fleeting, fancy and foolish. But what God to offer is holy, healing and healthy. The love the world portray passes away with the lust of the eyes. Take many famous movie stars, for example. The two have fame and fortune, everything the world says matters, but six months down the road the couple have split up and having a nasty divorce lived out on every tabloid in the grocery store.
In conclusion, John tells us “the world and its desires pass away,” and this is to be expected — “but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” It’s not what we have that matters — this world will pass away along with the lust of the flesh, the desires of humans, fame and fortune with it. But doing God’s will results in us living forever.
I don’t think God wants us to hate this world, I mean, he made it didn’t he? He even made those who make beautiful things (like us). But keeping things in perspective matters. Making sure our love for the world is not more than our agape love for God. So “like” the world, if you will, but reserve your highest love for God — because he loved you first.
“O Lord God, I agape you! Thank you for allowing me this perspective of love and for helping me deepen my devotion to you. I praise you Lord for making a way for us to even know you. In this world, filled with so many lovable things — you are above the all. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your power and grace. Help us walk in step with the Spirit and to love you and those you have created. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen