For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (I John 2:16)
John continues to write to the Body of Christ, from the isle of Patmos, in the same manner in which the Gospel of John is written–up close and personal.
In the first part of this passage of scripture, we see the love of Christ in the words he uses to specifically address all in the churches. He states, “I write to the children (those new in the faith), I write to the fathers who have known (those with experience with the love of Christ and will of the Father), I have written to those who are strong in the faith” (tried by experience and overcame) [I John 2:13,14 paraphrased]. Why care so much about those in the church? John wanted to remind people that although their sins had been forgiven, they should not get caught up in the ways of the world, for it they did, they would fall again into wickedness.
Now, notice he did not say–don’t love the people in the world; he said, don’t love the world (the ways of those who don’t know The Lord). And then he explains why–the lust and pride that leads people astray. Lust–intense and uncontrolled sexual desire; overwhelming cravings that dictate behavior. Pride–having an inordinate opinion of self and one’s own superiority.
When we refuse to exercise discipline in a Godly manner, our behavior lacks self discipline and people end up doing whatever they want to do–to gratify selfish desires, without regard for others. When we think that we are superior to others and we are not, we set ourselves up for failure because we are not willing to admit, we do not know everything there is to know and we refuse to learn from others. These are the two greatest obstacles that leave many suffering, on the path of self-destruction.
Uncontrolled sexual behavior leads to diseases, emotional upheaval, mental instability, and shortened lifespans.
Feelings of superiority lead to wars, confusion, and chaos–the ego leads to destructive behavior.
The warning from John–don’t get caught in the things of the world that have nothing to do with doing the will of the Father. There is no sustaining victory in life apart from God. What some might experience–is a temporary situation at best–and permanent destruction at the other end of the spectrum.
Love the people of the world–unconditionally, but don’t get caught up in the world’s way of doing things because of misplaced desires and cravings and feelings of superiority. The Word tells us that when a person thinks more highly of themselves that they should, they have only deluded themselves–not those who can see–clearly–what force is guiding them. Shake off the shackles of lust and pride and receive the love of God and know victory in Jesus!