I John 2:15-17 says “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. 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. And the world is passing away along with its desires; but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” Obviously, as Christians, we aren’t meant to be of the world. We aren’t meant to be like the world. However, does this mean that we can’t enjoy our time on earth? Does this mean we can’t love music or sunsets or animals or the mountains? Does this mean that we can’t love the snow, or crunchy fall leaves, or the warm spring sun? Absolutely not! These are all “good and perfect gifts” from God. God made the world, and it makes sense that these things in the world are beautiful to us, His creation. To not appreciate them would be to not appreciate God and the beauty He made for us, and it would go against the love for beauty that God has built into us.
However, there are other things that the world has to offer that also appeal to human instincts that are not so good, such as fame, wealth and power. When you love these things, they pull you away from God and become your idols. These pleasures, the desires of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life, are the things we’re not to love. If we love the desires of the flesh, like our physical and sexual appetites, then we are not focusing on the fruits of the Spirit, in Galatians 5:22-23. If we love the desires of the eyes, such as beautiful, materialistic possessions, then we are not walking by faith, but by sight. We are focusing on the everyday things that Jesus told us not to worry about. If we love the pride of life, then we’re not humbling ourselves before God.
These things aren’t from God, but from Satan, the prince of this world. The prince of this world rules over it and tempts people every day with technically sinless objects and ideas. He gets us to place our importance on things that aren’t necessarily bad, such as school, work and errands. He distracts us with these necessary things, and also with the fun, exciting things in life, like movies and money and clothes. However, we do not have to be ruled by the prince of this world. As is stated several times throughout the New Testament, we are not of this world. We Christians do not have to be influenced by the temptations of this world. As is said in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
We are very blessed in many ways, but one way that I want to point out is that we can enjoy the physical, materialistic things of this world, but our relationship with God can be unaffected. Our morals and our character can be uninfluenced by Satan, but we can still enjoy our time on earth. As followers of Jesus, we can sort of have the best of both worlds. However, the trouble comes when we start to spend a little more time with the materialistic things than the spiritual things. When we spend our time on Facebook or Netflix rather than reading our Bible, or we get so busy that we forget to pray throughout the day, then we have made the world our love and not God. We will become like Demas, who, in II Timothy 4:10 is said that he was in love with the present world.
All of the beautiful, physical things of this world are also temporary – they will pass away, decay, and burn up on Judgement Day. However, we will not. Our bodies are temporary, but our souls, and the deeds we do, and the souls we help bring to Christ are eternal. When we obey God and do His will, there is nothing more beautiful. The mother who raises her children in the Lord is far more beautiful than the biggest waterfall, or the tallest mountain. The woman who works quietly behind the scenes, who has the gentle and quiet spirit, is more valuable than any gold or any paycheck. There is nothing on earth that is as gorgeous and worthy as a Christian who loves and obeys God.