(Part 113)


December 30, 2014

Today’s reading:  1 John 2:12-17

A new year will soon be upon us. As is the case with many, the start of a new year is time for New Year’s resolutions. What can we do better in the coming year? Whatever it is, the basic focus should be on the Lord and not on the world. These are the two choices we always have before us—God and mammon, spiritual and sensual, sacred and profane, life and death, salvation and damnation.

Too many people, including Christians, are enamored by the world. They seek the things of the world—money, power, influence, success, prominence. While these can have a place in the life of a Christian, we must be careful that our lives are not dominated by them. The world can easily separate us from the love of God.

And so we are cautioned: “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (v.15). What is “in the world” (v.16a)? What is “not from the Father but is from the world” (v.16e)?

First, “sensual lust” (v.16b). This is the lust of the flesh. It is inordinate desire for physical gratification. It manifests itself mainly in the area of sexuality, but can also be present in any type of bodily gratification, such as with food, drink, drugs. What is the antidote? It is the quest for holiness. It is chastity and living pure.

Second, “enticement for the eyes” (v.16c). This is the lust of the eyes. It is greed or covetousness. It is wanting more and more, way beyond one’s needs. It is being envious of others who have more than we do. What is the antidote? It is simplicity of lifestyle and sharing of resources with others, especially the poor. It is poverty in spirit.

Third, “a pretentious life” (v.16d). This is the pride of life. It is arrogance or ostentation in one’s earthly lifestyle. It is flaunting one’s wealth, power or position. It reflects a willful independence from God. It is dependence on self. It is charting one’s own path in life, without reference to God’s will. What is the antidote? It is humble servanthood. It is obedience to God.

Another year will pass away. A new year comes. Then that year will pass away too. We inch forward to the end of time. Each year then is an opportunity to grow in Christ. That entails having less and less of the world, and more and more of the Lord. “Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.” (v.17).

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