Following Jesus 163
Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.
Not only does God warn followers of Jesus to not love the world, but He also warns believers to neither love the things that are in the world.
Often times, preachers, pastors and churches have encouraged their membership to shun all manner of items of presumed worldliness. For example, Christians have often been persuaded to not own a television, a radio, a cellular phone or a computer. These items, in and of themselves, are not evil. However, they can be used for evil purposes as well as for good and God honoring purposes. The decision followers of Jesus face on a daily basis is making sure their choices and selections in using these instruments glorify God.
The reason for these two warnings are that “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” God is saying that if there is a consistent love for the world, there exists no real love for God. Therefore, riding the fence regarding one’s affection for both God and the world is non-negotiable. It cannot be done.
James says, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4 ESV)
“The world” could refer to everything but God; here it means the system in competition with God. Just as Israel in the Old Testament repeatedly had to decide between allegiance to God and allegiance to the pagan nations around them, the Christians scattered among the nations had to choose Christ above whatever in their cultures conflicted with his demands. God not only gives two warnings against the believer’s attraction to and involvement with Vanity Fair, but also describes the wickedness originating within from Vanity Fair. Vs. 16.
What is God’s evaluation of Vanity Fair? I john 2:16a says, “For all that is in the world is not from the Father, but is from the world.” Everything that compromises the world’s anti-God perspective does not originate from God, but belongs to and is characteristic of the fallen world system of thought and behavior.
What is the concentration within the fallen world system of thought and behavior? The worldview system called Vanity Fair? It involves three areas.
The first of Vanity Fair’s concentrations and avenues of temptation for the believer is identified as the “lust of the flesh.” The lust of the flesh is the desire and cravings of man’s physical being. It is what man desires and does in relationship to the world’s desires and actions and not that which is pleasing to God. It may refer to any sexual immorality including homosexuality or any physical human desire in general which rebels against God’s Word.
The second concentration of Vanity Fair and an avenue of temptation for the believer is the lust of the eyes. This is that which belongs to and originates from the eye of one’s understanding. In this context, it is the desire and longing for what one sees and therefore wants. It is that item or items which becomes most dear and important, other than God.
The third and final concentration of Vanity Fair is the boastful pride of life. It is pretentious pride and false arrogance. It the perspective of life that an individual deserves what they desire, no matter what that may be.
These three areas are evidenced in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve fell into sin. They are also evident when the devil tempted Jesus as record in Matthew 4 and Luke 4.
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