Living a Balanced Life
(An In-Depth Study of First John)
Seek First the Kingdom
1 John 2:15-17
It has been said that the human heart is an idol factory. It should be abundantly obvious that God, our creator, designed us to worship. For, worship we do. The problem, ever since the rebellion in the garden, is we worship idols and not the only one worthy of worship. John is not unaware of the allure of created things. He knows that everything the world offers is not only temporary, but if worshipped (or loved) always leads the worshipper away from God.
Therefore, our text for this session contains one bold commandment; “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” John learned at the feet of Jesus. No doubt he remembers the time that Jesus gave similar warnings…“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) John, like Jesus, is saying that no one can love both the world and God at the same time. John is stating that our allegiance must not be divided. Our affection must be focused and specific.
John’s view of love for God comes from the understanding that the highest form of love is founded on loyalty and commitment. For John, and for us, to form allegiance with the world is to declare opposition to God. Once again we come face-to-face with a life balance issue. John is not requiring us to rid ourselves of material possessions. He is simply and boldly requiring us to rid ourselves of misguided affections. He is requiring that the way we live our life reflect the way Jesus lived his. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
The question we ask ourselves would be…is my desire for home, family, and career first and foremost a desire for God? Do I desire dinner because I desire God? Do I want a job because in it I will discover God and love God? Do I long for a spouse because I am hungry for God and hope to see him and love him in my husband/wife? Do I desire the child and the healthy body and the good night’s rest and the morning sun and the great book and the evening with friends for God’s sake? Do I have an eye for God in everything I desire? (See Colossians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31.)
Main Point (vs 15)
Do not love the world or the things in the world.
Four reasons why:
- If you love the world, you don’t love God
- Everything of the world is not of God
- The world is passing away
- The one who does the will of God abides forever
What is the world’s?
- The desires of the flesh
- The desires of the eyes
- The pride of life
John’s Idea of Eternal Life
Faith (believe) and Love for God
- “Trust in Christ” and “Love for God” to John are the same
- No love for God, no saving faith
Example – Repentance
Big difference between ‘self-righteous repentance’ and ‘gospel-centered repentance’
Self-righteous: repentance only out of fear of God’s anger and punishment; repentance for ‘being bad’ or ‘doing wrong things’
Gospel-centered: repentance out of love for God and his commands, knowing He loves us always as a Father loves his child; repentance not merely from bad actions, but from the very desire to seek the flesh/world/sin instead of God; from a desire to have a living and active relationship with God
Boast only in the Lord
God is in ALL of life, Desire God!