RECOGNIZE THREE SOURCES OF PRESSURE
1 JOHN 2:15-17 NKJV
15 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. 16 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. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
The pressure that John is speaking about in these verses for today is not the hard pressure of adversity. Rather, it is the siren song of the world. The sirens were dangerous creatures in Greek mythology who lured sailors with their music and voices to shipwreck. I have zero belief in Greek mythology, but the example of being lured by the world is accurate.
This is why John warns of not loving the world and all it has to offer. And if you love the world, it squeezes out the love for our heavenly Father. And thankfully, we are given insight into what comprises the lure of the world. The lust or strong desire of the flesh. The strong desire of the eyes and the pride of life. I once heard the lure of the world described as our passions, our possessions, and our position.
Our passions are the desires of the flesh that most definitely have a strong pull. As we read through the New Testament scriptures, we see the writers constantly talking to the church about the pull of the flesh. Paul gives us the most detailed list of fleshly activities in the fifth chapter of Galatians. The lust of the flesh includes sexual sins but does not stop there. Included are hatred, selfish ambition, and envy. These are common to the world we live in and have a strong pull.
Our possessions are pretty easy to define. What we have, what we want, what we want but can't have, and the list goes on. There is nothing wrong with desiring and having nice things in life. But that desire should not consume us. Jesus warned us about being covetous in Luke 12:15 when He declared that our lives do not consist of the abundance of the things we own.
Our position would be our place in life. This is the tendency to judge and categorize ourselves as better than others because of our place and position in life. I have seen people who treated those above them well but have been harsh and demeaning to those they considered beneath them. Think of how some people treat servers at a restaurant. And we can add to the pride of life the desire to climb above others. Again, there's nothing wrong with upward mobility, but that's a secondary motivation.
John tells us that all that's in the world is passing away; it is temporary. All our stuff, all our desires and positions in life are going to go away. There will come a day when we are not pulled by feelings and desires, where we are not concerned about what we own or what we want. And we no longer feel exalted by our positions in life. All in this world as we know it will pass away, and the strong lure of this world will also be gone. But those who do the will of God will last and last and last forever.
Keeping a check on the pull of the world is a never-ending thing. As long as we are in this world, we will have to deal with this subtle and not-so-subtle pressure. This is where spending time with the Lord in His word and in communication with Him becomes so important. Making time for God, His word, His Spirit, His Kingdom, His work, and His people means that we are putting the love of God first and resisting the pressure of the world.
Don't ever think that the pressure from the world goes away. We must stay on guard. One of the most dangerous mentalities we can adopt is thinking that we are beyond being pressured by the world. Just another reason we are encouraged to watch and stand fast in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Lord, I love You more than I love the things of this world. You are forever, and this world is not. Thank You for alerting me to the pressures in this world so that I might stand strong!