One is left clinging to things that bring no real comfort and satisfaction
“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 – come not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” I John 2:15
After the venerable apostle tells us not to love the world he tells us that what is wrong with the world system is that it appeals to the cravings of our sinful nature. So, when we avoid worldly attachment we really crucify the worldly tendencies of our natures.
First to go to the cross must be the cravings of our sinful natures. Some call this the “lust of the flesh.” Such is nothing more than to live a life that is ruled by the senses and those alone. The end of such a life is over indulgence, excess in everything and total debauchery. A mere look at the most notorious gangster or most indulgent artist will tell you what the end of such a life is like.
Secondly, we are to level the death sentence on what appeals to the lust of our eyes. The world captivates us with its outward show that celebrates ostentation, superficiality, prosperity, faddishness, and all those things money or fame can buy. What we lose in the pursuit of what captivates our eyes is the soul, most often our families and always relationships that are meaningful. One is left clinging to things that bring no real comfort and satisfaction. They will be bartered like Scrooge’s rags when we are gone.
Finally, the world system encourages us to build our lives on empty boasts or as one translator put it “life’s empty pride.” At the core the Greek word used here denotes the braggart. It speaks of boasting about things which one does not possess. As an example, the world system loves the word “expert.” Experts are supposed to believe everything and some who are so called actually believe such is true. One only has to look at how the experts contradict each other to know how empty boasting is.
John does well to remind us not to love the world. That is because every natural inclination we have causes us to admire the world: its fixation on things, power, fame, empty images, and the promise of fulfillment of every desire if we only believe in ourselves. The point John makes is this. Love of the world system is ultimately destructive because its center is the insatiable self. It is better, he tells us, to do the will of the Father as we make Him our center.
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