Love Not the World

Some find it difficult to reconcile John’s warning: “Love not the world,” with “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16). Just what is the “world” that we are not to love?

It certainly is not the world of nature. Jesus loved the beauties of creation and spoke of the lilies of the field, the birds of the air and other wonders of nature. Creation manifests the wisdom and goodness of God: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalm 19:1).

In answer to the question, “What then is the world?” Dr. H. A. Ironside wrote: “It is that system that man has built up in this scene, in which he is trying to make himself happy without God.”

So, many things may qualify as “the world.” John Wesley said: “Whatever cools my affection toward Christ is the world.” Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman declared: “Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work more difficult, is wrong for me and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.”

Choosing the world over Christ is bad judgment. This world is shallow and temporary: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (I John 2:16-17).

What, then, is the world for you? Answer carefully. The truth may touch some of your favorite pastimes!