Quote from Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

December 1


Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 133:1-3 | Dan 8:1-27 | 1 John 2:1-17 | Proverbs 28:25-26

Today’s Scripture Focus: 1 John 2

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:15-17 NIV)

John’s insistence that we should not love the world or anything in the world is easily misunderstood or misapplied. For some it signals a dualistic way of life that views life in categories where spiritual is prized over earthly, sacred is valued and secular is rejected. This rejection fails to recognize that “the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (1 Cor. 10:26).

It is common in some Christian circles to view worldliness as a style (music or dress, for example) to be rejected—a style that is typical of those outside the norms of the community. Thus, we tend to define worldliness in ways that it applies to someone else. But defining worldliness in that way often keeps us from seeing the worldliness of our own hearts. Focusing too much on the minor issues keeps us from seeing the real issue: the pride within each of us.

Worldliness is an attitude of the heart. At its core, worldliness is pride focused in three ways: “the lust of the eyes,” “the lust of the flesh” (cravings of the sinful man), and “the boasting of what he has and does.” Instead of finding my satisfaction in God, I find myself allowing the things of this world to gain too much significance in my life. My desire gets out of control and becomes a “lust.” The good gifts of God become my source of significance and the focus of my boastful speech. I fall into the endless cycle of trying to conform to the lifestyle of my neighbors in their materialistic pursuits and I become the focus rather than God.

Embrace life in its fullness under the Lordship of Christ. Enjoy the good gifts of the Father with gratitude, but do not allow your affections that rightly belong to the Giver to be focused on the gifts. Do not allow the focus of praise to turn from God to yourself.

Father, keep me hungry and thirsty for you. Help me to enjoy the good and perfect gifts you give without making them objects of worship. Enable me to live free of sinful cravings, the lust of the eyes, and from prideful boasting. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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