Together in Christ: 'Fading or Forever' — 1 John 2:15-17

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

— 1 John 2:15-17 NLT

Key Thought

People matter more than stuff — the things, the trinkets, of this world. As Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God matters more than everything else and anything else. Jesus made this clear when He said:

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? [1]

Jesus commanded us to love God and love our neighbors [2] and not crave the stuff of the world. The love of worldly things crowds out our love for God and leads us to neglect the people we love. [3]

In our verses today, John echoes Jesus' teaching in telling us that we must not love this world and its stuff! This command seems contradictory to John 3:16 — that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son to save us. [4] In this statement, John is emphasizing that God loves the lost people in the world and wants to save them. [5] In our verses today, however, John is teaching against loving the stuff in this world. Rather, we are to do what pleases God, and that means loving God and the people around us. Notice how the Holy Spirit identifies the world's things we must not love:

  • The craving for physical pleasure.
  • The craving for everything we can see.
  • The pride in our human achievements and possessions along with the status they bring us.

John wants us to know that these false loves ruin our lives, destroy our relationships, and lead us away from God. They come from the fallen world that is opposed to God, and its works are evil because it is under the power of Satan, the god of this current evil age. [6] This is the world that hates followers of Jesus. [7]

So, Phil, what's the point? Put it in plain cornbread English to help us see how this principle applies to relationships! Well, it's pretty simple. If we love God and follow Jesus with all our heart, the Holy Spirit pours God's love into us so we can love each other fully, correctly, and sacrificially. [8] But if what we love means satisfying the cravings of our worldly nature, we will destroy our relationship with God and ruin our relationships with other people. [9] We love God, then we love each other. When we build our relationships on these two loves and not the cravings of the world, Jesus promised that God would give us all the other things we need as His added blessings. [10] The world is going to pass away, but those of us who love God will enjoy God's love, forever!

[1] Mark 8:36-37.
[2] Matthew 22:37-40.
[3] Luke 13:13-21, 18:23-30.
[4] John 3:17.
[5] Luke 19:1-10; Romans 5:6-11; Ephesians 2:1-10.
[6] John 7:7; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4.
[7] John 15:18-20; 1 John 3:13.
[8] Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:1-13; Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:5-7.
[9] 1 Timothy 6:6-10.
[10] Matthew 6:33; John 10:10.

Today's Prayer

O Father, I need the Holy Spirit's guidance to help me place the right priorities in my life so I can love You first and love others as You have said I should. Help me block the cravings of false loves — pleasure, treasures, and notoriety. I want to resist the evil one's temptations that seek to allure me away from You and lead me into destructive patterns of living with others important to me. I invite You, Lord Jesus, to fill me with the Holy Spirit freshly and powerfully so that I can rightfully examine my heart and re-awaken my passionate love for You and for the people You have brought into my life. Thank You for hearing my prayer and re-tuning my love to Your standards. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 12:13-34
  • 1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:1-13

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Illustration

Illustration of 1 John 2:15-17 NLT — Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.