One thing I miss about being a Children’s Pastor is teaching kids to memorize God’s Word. I have to confess, I’m terrible at memorizing anything, especially scripture. So teaching the kids memory verses helped me memorize them too. Our lead Children’s Pastor had the most amazing way of creating fun ways to memorize scripture and one of my favorite verses we taught the kids was 1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I wish I could let you see and hear the dramatic way we would say this verse together.
Last week I was able to get away for an extended prayer retreat and spend a lot of my time meditating on a few verses, prayerfully asking God about how He wanted to apply His word to my heart. This is one of the verses that took center stage during that time. But I continued on to verse 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”.
Three things that will separate us from God’s love.
It’s easy as a long time follower of Jesus to skim through a list of sins that God despises and think we’re okay. But when I really took the time to think about these three things, I realized that I am overwhelmingly guilty.
The New Testament Greek Lexicon offers the following definitions:
Cravings-greed, destructive longing
Lust- desire for what is forbidden
Boasting- empty, braggart talk that trusts in its own power
I don’t know about you but I crave food for comfort, new shoes for a pick-me-up, I’m greedy for comfortable surroundings and abundance. I lust after getting my way; I long for approval, and pats on the back. And boasting? Well, one look at my Facebook page would confirm my continual boasting. My empty braggart talk.
God says if we love these things then His love is not in us. Why is that do you suppose?
Maybe because craving, lust, and boasting takes our eyes off of Jesus and puts them elsewhere. If I’m having a bad day I should turn to God’s word not brownies or a BOGO sale at my favorite shoe store to fill me up. If I’m feeling rejected and unloved my heart should seek out time in His presence not empty words from man. And if I’m going to dare to open my mouth to boast… why on earth would I choose to boast of myself when the only thing that’s good in me is Jesus?
When I choose the things of this world I fill my heart up with my wicked craving, lust, and boasting leaving no room for the love of God to fill my heart.
God wants us to be holy, just as He is holy. Yet, I live my life making excuses for my sin. Calling it “social media” instead of boasting. Or the new shoes a “treat” instead of greed. Don’t get me wrong. You’ll never hear me say Facebook or shopping is wrong. It’s my heart that’s wrong. Full of greed and in desperate need of God.
I want to be more desperate for Him than anything else this world could ever offer.
Lord, change my heart. Make me more like you!
“Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. 1 John 2: 28-29