On Not Loving the World

Key Texts: 1 John 2:5-7

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them.  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 7 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

I can’t say I have ever been too impressed by the “things of the world” – or at least those things that seem to impress a lot of people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint living in the desert or in a secluded monastery somewhere.  I own plenty of things – enjoy a good movie, drive a car, like to dress reasonably well, eat out at a good restaurant and the like.

On the other hand, when I see the ads in a popular women’s fashion magazine or in GQ magazine or on television – well, it frankly boggles my mind.

I can’t imagine why anyone would spend the kind of money that apparently some people do on the things that from my perspective seem so transient, so fleeting, and so superficial.

As they say, “to each their own.”

Of course, I am sure there are plenty of people who might question why I buy as many books as I do, or buy expensive coffee on an almost daily basis at a certain popular coffee shop in town.

As I say, to each their own.

The point is this: the Bible makes it quite clear.  As much as we might “like” certain things – when like turns to love or obsession or a way to Lord it over others or feel smug…well, that’s a big problem.

“Do not love anything in the world….The world and its desires pass away but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

That about sums it up, don’t you think?

Take that, GQ.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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