1 John 2:15-17
15 Don’t love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s. 17 The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever. (WEB)
When I was a young Christian, I felt uncomfortable every time I read this passage of Scripture. Since the Apostle John doesn't mince his words here, I felt as if what he was saying was if you love the world, then God's love is not in you. This inevitably always brought me to a place of shame and condemnation because of my struggles with the things that were in the world around me.
If you have ever struggled with this passage of Scripture in the past as well, my encouragement to you is to look at it from a different perspective. The Bible tells us that we are in this world, but we are not of this world. When we were united with Christ, we became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) in Him, seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:4-6).
Though we still have to deal with the ravages of sin in our flesh and in our soul, our spirit man is no longer part of this fallen world system. We are no longer orphans trying to navigate the systems of the world, but strangers and foreigners in this land (Hebrews 11:13). Since our citizenship is in heaven (Ephesians 2:19), our spirit man no longer loves what our old carnal nature desired.
That does not mean that there isn't a struggle in our daily lives. The Apostle Paul refers to this conflict between our old nature and our new one in Romans 7:15-17 when he talks about his struggle to do the things that he knows are right and doesn't do them. In verse 17, he says... So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me. (WEB)
I find it interesting that Paul was able to separate the 'sin which dwells in me' from his spiritual identity. I know there are many ways to look at this Scripture, but in my opinion, I believe he was separating himself from the guilt and shame associated with the remnants of the carnal nature that still were warring against his spirit man.
That is why he said in the last two verses of Romans 7:24-25... 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then with the mind, I myself serve God’s law, but with the flesh, the sin’s law. (WEB).
My prayer today is that we would all know that because we carry God's nature within us as His beloved sons and daughters in Christ, we no longer love the things that are in the world. Though we may face many struggles dealing with the counterfeit affections found in the world, Jesus promised that our spiritual identity is as overcomers when He said in John 16:33... I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.” (WEB)
May the Holy Spirit give us a deeper revelation of our true spiritual identity so that we can see that because we are in Christ, we are no longer part of this fallen world system. May we all be free from condemnation (Romans 8:1) so that we would know that the Father's love does indeed indwell us, though we still have to deal with the remnants of counterfeit affections in the unredeemed part of our old nature.
13 But now I come to you, and I say these things in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. (WEB)