“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
I readily admit that I enjoy life in this world. I would even say that I love my life in this world. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my house. I love Mama Linda desserts. I love a really good movie. I love naps. I love a captivating book. I love The Masters golf tournament. I love Chick-Fil-A.
I also love God. I love His Word. I love His Church. I love my Connect Group. I love authentic, soul enthralling worship.
So perhaps you see my dilemma. Does my enjoyment of this world mean that the love of God is not in me?
Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile asks the question this way and then answers his own question: “How do we know whether we truly love God instead of the world? We know we love God and not the world when we deny our fallen motivations and desires and seek God’s way of living and God’s glory in everything.” He adds, “We cannot love the world correctly until we love the Father completely.”
In other words, until I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength I will not be able to love my family as I ought to. Nor my friends. Nor for that matter Chick-fil-A. So if I really want to get the most out of this world and and enjoy it to the utmost then it behooves me to love God with a determined fierceness that makes my love for this world pale in comparison.
In John 14:15 Jesus says “If you love me you will obey my commands.” So I can actually gauge the degree to which I love God but my willingness to do what He says. If I choose to love and enjoy things in this world that God tells me not to, then I do not love God. But… if I seek God tenaciously, and doggedly pursue His will then I can enjoy the things of this world that He created in a way that I would not be able to otherwise.