Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15 NASB
This verse is like getting punched in the face by Mike Tyson. Maybe not for you. But, definitely for me. I mean, there is a lot in this world I could care less about. Sports is one of those things. I don’t mind playing sports, but I have no desire to be a fan, follow stats, or watch games. When I go to Super Bowl parties, I go to be with my friends and that’s about it. I am also one of those people that enjoy movies for the sake of being entertained. I do not have to know every single detail about every Easter Egg in a movie or what stars are doing in their personal lives. Those things don’t really matter to me.
However, let someone start talking about politics. I struggle with that. I struggle with the notion that there are some of us so completely cut off from empathy we can’t see how our choices effect other lives. I struggle with how issues can be so overgeneralized and vilified rather than discussed, if it doesn’t fit into the scope of reality that the other person holds. I struggle with how we can assume the worst about entire groups of people based on nothing but our own personal bias. How have we landed on this trend of just rearranging our biases to fit the moment when the moment requires a different bend to our bias?
To be completely blunt: I struggle with whether this is me loving the world a little too much. Because, one of Thayer’s definitions for worldly is: “world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly.” Am I allowing my own notions to get in the way of the most basic command? Love thy neighbor as thyself—yes, even that MAGA hat wearing guy or that ‘we should not nuke hurricanes’ lady.
As humans, we tend to become very passionate about what we believe in and as believers in Christ, it’s ridiculous to think our faith does not impact the way we view the world. But, when are we becoming like the world? When are we going too far with our opinion? How far do we go before we are no longer being like Christ, and are being more like the ungodly clamor of those alienated from the Father? When do our words cease being edification and become slander? We all struggle with this to a point, or struggle with people that do. Social media removes the walls of our homes with respect to our private opinions and gives anyone with opposable thumbs the chance to say whatever it is they just have to put out there. But, are we being like them? Are we speaking in love? Or are we speaking from pride?
In Romans 12:2, God tells us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. God tells us repeatedly in His word that we are His and that we are set apart. Psalm 4:3 tells us that the godly are set apart for the Lord. 1 John 4:4-5 tells us that we belong to God, that greater is the Spirit in us than is in the spirit of the world. John also goes on to tell us that those of the world speak from the world’s viewpoint, not Jesus Christ’s. Clearly, in the eyes of God, we are supposed to be different. If the world is bitter, we are to be better than that.
So, how might you be looking at those around you, at your marriage, at your job or even at your goals through world-colored glasses? Are you looking at the log in your own eye, seeing what you need to work on to fix your own heart condition, or are you too busy looking at other’s and projecting the limitations of the world that you see onto them? Are you convicted by the Spirit to be more like Jesus? Loving, patient, kind and keenly aware people are going to screw up? Or are you more like the worldly mob that demanded that He pay and be crucified for whatever has you offended in this moment?
We have an opportunity to be a light in a hostile world. We all get it wrong from time to time. However, as believers, are we working to sow unity and love in His name? Are we spreading the gospel that God came to us, to show us how He desires to do relationships, and that He laid down His life for us so that we could be restored and reconciled to Him as He conquered the grave? We can choose to live out lives that take the word of God, read it, apply it to our hearts and lives; and not just profess Jesus with our words but actually live it out day to day to the very best of our ability. In this way, our minds may be renewed in Him and the love of the Father shines through us! We can be the City on a Hill it just takes not being like the world.
Until Next Time