All That Is in the World :: By Gene Lawley

This title comes from 1 John 2:15-17 which tells us this: “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. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

When I first paid attention to those words, especially that phrase, “all that is in the world,” I thought, “Really? That is all there is, here? How is it so, and what does it mean?”

Are those three passions what guides everything that happens in the world? James tells us that such passions are what really fouls our prayers: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3).

Those three allurements have been the tactical weapons of spiritual warfare that the devil has used since his trickery with Eve in the Garden of Eden. She saw that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil had fruit that was “desirable to eat, was beautiful to look at, and would make one wise.” And she ate of the fruit of it…and died, spiritually and eventually, physically.

The passage above from James tells the history of mankind since that day in the Garden. It bears the “you come first after me” mentality.

Is there not something else in the world, something of enduring value? Surely there must be…we hopefully think. But no, for as Job says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Basically, Job is saying, “Naked I came into the world, and naked I shall leave it.”

Therefore, Mark 8:36 has great meaning for our consideration: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Job’s summation, however, gives us the clue to the correct attitude and direction we should look for our purpose in this world. His conclusion was, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

A couple of directives tell us how to prioritize things in the right order. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these thigs will be added to you,” referring to the basic essentials for life that are listed there. Then, Paul writes in Philippians 4:19, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Need seems to be a key thing here, but note that the priority is God first, then He is the One who provides.

The Scripture says it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23). Why? A rich man can lose sight of God in the midst of his wealth where almost any need he has can be purchased. The things of this world choke the truth that there is a day of reckoning ahead. Have you noticed that many rich people have a passion for the power of a political office, sometimes for the right reasons, but other times for ungodly pursuits?

The history of the Hebrew people in Old Testament times shows a terrible and constant rejection of God as central in their lives. They had confirmed a covenant with God to keep His commandments but were obviously unable to do so, for the lure of the world around them was too much. The law was meant to bring them to God for His mercy and help, but they only turned more and more into moral degradation. God, then, would allow judgment to come upon them by the hand of evil nations. Then they would seek Him. Has the situation changed in these latter days?

It was the incarnate Jesus with whom Abraham bargained for the city of Sodom lest the Lord destroy it (Genesis 18). Centuries later, Luke records Jesus saying, “As it was in the days of Lot, so will it be in the day of the revealing of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:28-30).  Then, the city was shown as saturated with homosexuality (Genesis 19), and He added that they were in a “party-time atmosphere,” eating and drinking, buying and selling, building and planting, but totally unaware of their hovering doom.

They desperately wanted to “know” those two “men” who had come to Lot’s house. But as soon as the two angels got Lot and his wife and two daughters out of the city, sudden destruction came and destroyed Sodom with all of its people. Take note of this: Jesus said, in Luke 17:28-30, that “as it was in the days of Lot, so will it be in the day of the revealing of the Son of Man.”  That lifestyle of Sodom is being urged upon this country, this world, in the form of a civil right by the order of a court and by public opinion. The Scripture says, “They have no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18).

“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 2:16); and Jesus said in Matthew 6, “You cannot serve two masters, but… seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

The question is, “are we willing that Jesus is all-sufficient for us?” Paul did write this: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9-10).

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