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For the Love of the Father



By Benjamin H. Liles

          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 lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. ~ 1 John 2:15-16

           To love the world, or to love the Father, that is the real question. I know the answer if it were put to me. I hands down choose to love the Father. Loving the things of the world – such as lying, stealing, hating others (hate is akin to murder), lusting, and so forth and so on – isn't just selfishness but is also devoid of life. If anyone is devoid of life they are dead. And in that sense, it's as if John is saying, "People who follow and love the things in and of the world cannot and will not love the Father."

          There are three things mentioned that keep us from loving the Father: 

1) Lust of the flesh. Going after the things, which He can help us with if and only if we choose to do His will, is harmful to us. Going after flesh that is contrary to our own nature definitely tells God, "Hey, I know better than you." It is selfishness and pride that keep a person from seeing the Father desires what's best for us: some one who will match us and complete us. After all Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man" (Genesis 2:23, New American Standard).

2) Lust of the Eyes. When you desire something not yours, such as a friends toy, a friend's wife, or their house - this too is lust. A desire for that which inflames the "I have got to have that" kind of comment from within isn't a good thing. This distracts us from the purpose that He set before us. We are to honor and respect one another. Not to cause harm or to destroy their livelihood.

3) Pride of Life. Thinking your life matters more than any one else is the last that God hates. Thinking you are far better over the next person is deemed wrong by His standard. Forget that living in your own way seems good. As it is written, "All a man's ways seem right to him, but the LORD evaluates the motives" (Proverbs 21:2, Holman Christian Standard). So, our hearts are laid bare before Him all the time; even when we think we are hidden away from Him.

           Friends, I talk a lot about how Jesus Christ fulfills scripture, and how if and when we sever our ties with sin and its effects, death, that we have access to eternal life. I have but one question today: what is it you choose to serve? By serving the things of this world means you most likely will die with it. I don’t like being a guy who preaches hellfire, but if it gets your attention and puts you on the edge of your seat I’ll continue to do so. But today I wanted to try something different.

           By loving the Father, and choosing those things that are right, we stand with Him, serving Him for all eternity. I won’t go into what this means at this time as that requires a lot more study. But the point is by loving the things of this world, by allowing ourselves to be turned by the lust of the flesh – such as eating a piece of fruit that’s not ours, the lust of the eyes – allowing what you see to be seen as pleasing, and the pride of life – thinking these things fulfill – we determine exactly whose mold we’re made in.

           Are we made in God’s image? Yes. But we can also be made in the image of the world, by doing those things which aren’t of the Father, which I have already listed (lying, cheating, stealing, etc.). And by continuously doing those things we show ourselves where we believe we belong. I want continual access to the Father, not this world. What about you?

           Because, you see, Jesus Christ came to abolish sin and death’s hold on us so that we would be able to be with the One who wants a restoration of humanity to Himself. What I’m saying is I’d much rather do and be bound by what my faith says it believes in, the saving power of Christ’s conquest over the grave, sin and death.