Do not love the world

Ernest-Onuoha“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 are 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”, (I John 2:15-17).

The writer of this epistle, John, offers an advice to all believers not to love the world. To him, the world has its attractions and entanglements through which one’s faith may be corrupted. The writer saw the vehicle of entanglement from the world in verse 16: “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”. Let it be stated that this advice is not only timely, but also good to us living in today’s world.

We recall that in the Garden of Eden, the woman was deceived by what she saw, “so when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight for the eyes… she took of its fruit and ate…”Gen. 3:16 and this disobedience brought about the great fall. Call this the sin of the eyes, but as a child of God, we need to be careful what we use our eyes for. The Bible told us that King David was not also spared because he could not control the use of his eyes. What then happened? “One evening he got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of his house. From there he saw a woman bathing. She was very beautiful, so David sent for his officers and asked them who she was. An officer answered, “That is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam. She is the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” David sent messengers to go and bring Bathsheba to him. She had just purified herself after her monthly time of bleeding. She went to David, he had sexual relations with her, and then she went back to her house. Later, Bathsheba became pregnant. She sent word to him saying, “I am pregnant”, (II Samuel 11:2-5). We are under caution not to love the world or be entangled by the eye’s desires.

During the temptation of Jesus, the tempter (the devil) used three things that spin the head to entice Him. These are food, power and position. To him, Jesus could not say no to all those enticements, but he was wrong. What did Jesus say the three times the tempter came to Him, “it is written….”(Mtth. 4:1-11, Mk 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13). And because of this, He was able to silence the tempter. We need to know that as people of God, we are heaven’s citizens and so should permanently fix our eyes on heaven, which according to Saint Augustine is the city of God. Men did not build it and cannot, therefore, destroy it. Even America, a world power with its biological, chemical weapons and antiballistic missiles cannot come near heaven. The reason being that it did not contribute to its building and therefore cannot destroy it. This reminds us as heaven’s citizens that we need not love the world because if we do, we are likely going to miss heaven.

Apostle Paul wrote: “Demas fell with the present world and he deserted me…” (II Tim. 4: 10). It is painful to lose a man or a woman, who is strong in faith due to the love of the world. Such was the fate of brother Demas, but to avert such a disaster, Saint Paul now tells believers: “So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him—an offering that is only for God and pleasing to Him. Considering what He has done, it is only right that you should worship Him in this way.  Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect”, (Rom 12:1-2). Remember, a child of God should defeat this evil world by faith (I John 5:4) and so should not conform to the patterns and customs of the world.

It is to be noted that every child of God is a role model to people around him/her. Every time people look up to him/her for leadership and to show the way, right way of living and serving the Lord. Should he/she disappoint, it becomes a burden to those who otherwise could have benefitted from him/her. Yes, there should be determination to shun worldliness, which is typified in materialism. Sometimes, people embezzle public funds entrusted to them because they are trying to live above their means. But this should not be so. We should not love the world, but in its place, we should be content with what God has blessed us with. Contentment is a virtue in this insatiable world.

Therefore, we trust that men and women who serve God should walk before Him and be blameless, (Gen. 17:1). They should live righteous, pure and impeccable lives and be determined to not be entangled by the things of this world. We pray that God through His Holy Spirit will help us not to disappoint Him, as we live in this world! Amen.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical entre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.

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