As we grow closer to Christ and begin to experience the Higher Christian Life, we find our ability to experience His Word is also enhanced. Greatly. After all, experiencing His Word and experiencing Him go hand in hand, one literally feeds the other. And our faith grows when we take His Word seriously and ask Him to place us in situations or circumstances that will test our faith in His promises and commands and warnings and then, by letting our faith be tested by trials and tribulations, it grows to maturity. This is how we know, personally, and by first-hand experience (the best kind), that His Word is true and can be trusted. And this is also how we begin to experience the Higher Christian Life found only in Him.
So we are going to look at just one if / then promise and its subsequent blessing and see if we truly believe what it says and, more importantly, if we will align our life to the truth it reveals. And this is where it often gets difficult. Let’s look at a familiar passage found in 1 John 2:15-17.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. (why) If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (again why) For all that is in the world— (defined as) the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (think Eve in Gen. 3:6)— is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away (worthless, of no value), and the lust of it (also of no value); but (contrast, the blessing) he who does (not just knows – James 1:22) the will of God (what) abides forever – 1 John 2:15-17.
Let’s dig deeper and define some confusing terms so we can make sure we know exactly what we claim to believe and act upon. This is where it gets interesting.
Do not love (agapaō – to love with a strong affection, indicating a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in something or someone)
the world (kósmos – the world’s system, its order, standards, and nature)
or the things in the world (kósmos). If anyone loves (agapaō) the world (kósmos), the love (agapaō) of the Father is not in Him – 1 John 2:15.
But there is more.
For all (pás – each, every, any, the whole, in totality without exception) that is in the world (kósmos)
the lust (epithumía – an intense or great desire for some particular thing, a longing or lust to satisfy the carnal cravings) of the flesh, the lust (epithumía) of the eyes,
and the pride (alazoneía – an arrogant boasting of what one does or does not possess, the pompous showing off of the manner of life, the ambitious pursuit of the glory and pleasure in this life)
of life (bíos – this does not mean the quality or worth of one’s life regarding soul or spirit (zōḗ), but the duration, means, and manner of life or mode of living (financial, possessions, etc.) is not of the Father but is of the world (kósmos) – 1 John 2:16.
It means to pass one’s life without reference to its eternal or spiritual quality. But its focus is on the livelihood or possessions accumulated in this physical life on earth, and nothing more. Kind of sad, isn’t it? But wait for the finish.
And the world (kósmos) is passing away (parágō – to disappear, perish, no longer exist), and the lust (epithumía) of it (the world);
but he who does (poiéō – to carry out or perform an action or course of action, to make, form, produce, bring about, cause)
the will (thélēma – not a demand, but desire, good pleasure, what pleases or creates joy)
of God abides (ménō – to remain, dwell, live, make their home, to be united in one heart, mind, and will) forever – 1 John 2:17.
It appears God obviously wants us to be concerned with the things that last and have great eternal value, and not waste our lives on things that do not have any lasting value and fade with time. And it also appears God no longer will tolerate hearers of His Word only, but He demands action, volition, commitment, and being “doers of the Word” (James 1:22-23).
There is so much more we will develop in this message. So join us as we learn to leave Laodicea behind.