It was something that Jay Collier in his forward to William Greenhill’ s sermon “Stop Loving the World” that made me ask this question of myself. This is what he said: “Our problem, however, is that we are entangled in a love affair with the things God has created. The world promisies to satisfy us with itself, and we run to it instead of God. The world sells us a bill of goods that it can never fulfill, and we accept it.” If I find myself more intrigued with my cell phone than my application of my devotions this morning….If I adore my neighbor’s house or car more than I adore my sacrificial Savior and what it means to be loved overwhelmingly by Him….if I am more apt to sell or acquire by the touch of a button at my fingertips, than to give myself to the discipline of prayer to ask God if I should buy such things or if I should pray for his provision because I really cannot afford what society makes it easy for me to acquire…then perhaps I do love the world. No wonder John emphatically tells us NOT to love the world or the THINGS in the world [I John 2:15-17]. If I do, I crowd out the love for God. You just cannot serve two masters. Impossible. Jesus was right when He told us that.
Here’s the thing though. You see I love to be in control. I want to have a say in the way things happen in this world. I really want my will to be done. But to affect that kind of experience, I find myself cherishing and desiring what the things of the world can do for me rather than what my Heavenly Father wishes to do for me. I am learning that God frowns on competition for His love. God is jealous for our undivided attention and undistracted devotion. It is too easy to let my “eye-gate” lead me rather than His Spirit within me. So let’s clarify loving the world then, so we can tell when we are doing it.
To love the world is to give it too high a regard on my list. Remember how much Jonah “loved his gourd” and was out of sorts when it withered away? He had little love for the undying souls of the people of Nineveh, but he sure loved that gourd!! The Jews of Jesus day thought too much of their temple and too little of their God. When Jesus came among them, they were upset that He cleaned up their place of worship.
To love the world is to let my mind become overly preoccupied with its stuff and its attractions. Where does your mind inevitably go when you have some down time? See what I mean? David confessed that He loved the law of God and thought about it during the day and night [Ps. 119:97] The Psalmist warns us in Ps. 62:10 that if we get more in this world, the danger is that our hearts will become set on them. Remember the words of the prophet Hosea [4:17] when he said “Ephraim is joined to idols.” William Greenhill, in his sermon I referred to earlier wisely observed: We buy cheap and sell high.” The result is that we did not have the gain we imagined but only suffer severe loss. So do we love the world? It is time to think it thru.