A Clash of Loves
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 desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
This passage of Scripture is critical for the process of what we call sanctification. This is how Christians spiritually grow as they are changed by the Holy Spirit.
The Unholy Trinity
We have already established in 1 John that the greatest change evident in the life of every believer is that she desires to obey Jesus. This desire is not born of fear or duty, but of love.
A Christian’s love for Jesus is meant to stand as a direct contradiction to his former love for the world and the things of it. John explains love for the world as an unholy trinity of three things that characterized our worship before we began to worship God.
- Desires of the flesh (lusting after things that are evil)
- Desires of the eyes (lusting after things that are pleasing to our sight)
- Pride of life (boasting in our accomplishments and possessions)
Every person who turns from sin to become a follower of Jesus is a walking, breathing miracle. However, there has seldom been a more public conversion story than Kanye West. He has been telling about what God has done for him over the last several months.
We should not place Kanye West on a pedestal above any other person who has been saved. But, he gives some very clear words about what life was like living in love with the unholy trinity versus living in love with the triune God. Watch this interview clip for a sample.
(You can end this clip at 7:20.)
Kanye goes on to talk about the multiple layers of addiction that he attributes to living out of love for the world. He says “I thought I was a god of culture, but culture was my god.” His life was controlled by alcohol, sex, pornography, greed, ego, and addiction to making art.
While Kanye is still a young Christian, almost everyone who followed him before conversion and after conversion can see that the things that control him today are totally different. Many people have even noted a dramatic change in his mental health.
- In what ways are we ultimately controlled by what we choose to love?
- How does a Christian’s view of “the world” differ from what we see in our current cultural context?
- How do the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life grow to become things that consume us?
- What some practical ways to combat the desires of the flesh?
- How do we combat the desires of the eyes?
- In what ways can we be rescued from the boastful pride of life?
- What is the difference between loving the people in world and loving the world?
- Can you point to some part of your life as proof that the desires of the world are passing away?
- How do we focus on the “abiding forever” while living in the here and now?
Related Message: Things That Don’t Fit, Part 1
Ask these questions of your group to help identify where they are at in their discipleship pathways. Keep in mind that we are not merely interested in box checking religious acts. We seek to shepherd group members and evaluate how measurable actions reflect personal journeys of faith.
These questions will be on the discussion guide each week. If you don’t get to all of them, you will have a chance over the next few weeks. If you need more information as a discussion leader, please contact Jonathan Pugh.
- Have you come to a place in your life where you can say that you have trusted God for salvation?
- Have you publicly stated that faith through believers’ baptism?
- How are you serving God with your time?
- In what ways are you making prayer a part of your daily life?
- How is your personal Bible study going this week?
- Have you been able to talk about faith with somebody outside of church this week?
- How are you currently being led to give of your resources to God’s work?
Specifically pray for each other to be aware of the desires of the world in our own lives. Pray for each person to be strengthened in their love for God.