As a parent, one of the things you want is for your kids to say their first word, then their first phrase, then their first sentence. Not only are those developmental milestones, but in one sense it makes life easier. If they are hungry, cold, sick, or tired, they can actually tell you instead of crying until you happen to figure out which one it is by trial and error.
But in another sense, it can make life more difficult. I know I’m constantly getting onto my oldest son for picking on his brother. In fact, I had to stop writing this paragraph in order to talk with him about something he said to his younger brother.
Playing referee is not the only thing that makes life more difficult. As your kids progress in their understanding and speech, you get the inevitable “why” question. I’m not saying that asking why is always disrespectful or even a bad thing, it’s what helps us learn and grow in our knowledge and understanding of the world around us. It does make our lives more difficult because it means we have to give an answer for almost everything that happens. A lot of time, I just don’t have the answer, or at least I don’t have the answer to the fifth “why” in a row. It either doesn’t exist, or my knowledge of the subject has been exhausted.
Even though I don’t always have the answer, I try to provide what I can because knowing why is often the difference between doing or not doing something. At least that’s the case in my life. Take algebra for instance. I think not knowing why I needed algebra as an adult was one of the reasons I didn’t apply myself to the subject in high school.
Knowing why is a motivating factor in our lives. I know this, you know this, God knows this, and the writers of Scripture know this, which is why the Bible often tells us why we should or shouldn’t do something. That’s exactly what John is doing for us in today’s passage. He tells us why we shouldn’t love the world.
Why shouldn’t we love the world?
In verse 15 of 1 John chapter 2 we read,
“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.” (1 Jn 2:15)
The first part of the verse represents the command. We are to take this command seriously because God, our Creator, Sustainer, and Lord is telling us not to do something through His inspired and inerrant Word.
Not only are we given a command, but we are also given a reason why we shouldn’t love the world.
I know you have probably seen those license plates or stickers that say: House Divided. Underneath that tag line you typically see the mascots of two rival football teams. In the South, where I grew up, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators were big rivals. It wouldn’t be uncommon to see people driving around with one of those license plates on their car.
While that tag definitely represented a division, it wasn’t so strong of a division, at least in some families, that they couldn’t marry one another, live in the same house, or raise kids together. Sure, their hearts might be divided when it comes to football. And that division might even lead them to give each other a hard time when those two teams play each other. But that doesn’t mean they can’t love and care for one another.
That, however, is not the case when it comes to our love for God and the world. We can’t slap a tag on our car in fun that says "Love Divided" — God and World. Either God holds our heart in His hands or the world does. If we love the world, the love of the Father can’t be in us. We shouldn’t love the world because it means we have divided hearts. As followers of Jesus, our hearts shouldn’t be divided. Instead, they should be fully given to Jesus and the things of God over the things of the world.