I recently read a part of the Bible written by a man named John who was one of Jesus’ closest followers. In the letter he wrote to all Christians of his day these words: I John 2:15-17: Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world — wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important — has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out — but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
John the writer is telling every person who says they belong to Jesus that there is a new way to live. That new way is for the most part just opposite of the old way or as he refers to it as the worlds way. There are three things that John focuses on that I think each of us who are Christians need to pay attention to: wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important. These three are really opposite of the life and way that Jesus brought to our world.
First: wanting your own way. Think about how this works out in our relationships, or homes, businesses, schools, churches and so on. Think about how destructive it is when we insist on our own way. We can’t learn from each other, we aren’t receptive to any way other than our own way, and we really become the center of our world. What if we chose to lay down our own way and asked the question what would be the best way or what would Jesus way look like? What if every Christ follower started asking that and then living out to the best of their ability what Jesus way was or is?
Second: wanting everything for yourself. One of the things that challenges me is what we see in the Book of Acts in the Bible as it describes the first church in Jerusalem. The people there started sharing and giving to others from what they had. They saw that having to have everything was counterproductive to what God wanted to do in their world. So they became givers, sharers and developed hearts of generosity. We as Christians can be part of the answer to our world by doing the same thing.
Lastly: wanting to appear important. What if we were more interested in being a part of the answer than having to have credit for what we’ve done? What if our motive was for the good and benefit of others, even if no one knew who was behind it? What if our value and identity were found in the person of Jesus and not in what we did or accomplished?
I believe that John knew the heart of Jesus and what he brought to the world. Maybe if we focused on his heart and let go of the world’s way of thinking our homes, work places, communities and schools might begin to look differently. I realize that I for the most part have raised a bunch of questions but they are the very ones I’m grappling with myself so I thought I would share them with you. Instead of feeling like we can do nothing to change our world, let’s let go of the world’s way to bring change do it God’s way. Thanks for listening.
Pastor of Open Door