Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do Not Love this World

Lately I've been reading and re-reading 1 John. I can't get enough. In some way, it seems as thought the Holy Apostle is writing those words to me personally.

In the second chapter, I read: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever." 1 John 2: 15-17

I struggle with this "loving the world" thing. I'm rather materialistic in the sort of way that people who don't have a lot of nice shiny stuff are materialistic: Envy, desire, self pity, being satisfied or dis-satisfied with stuff...you know the drill. I see what someone else has, or something on an advertisement, and I compare myself or my life or my stuff. This is sinful, destructive, and must end. So I confess it and ask for more of God's grace.

But I also struggle to accept the immense ordinariness of my little life. Gone are the days when I think or hope I will do radical and amazing and noticeable things in the Kingdom of God. Yeah, I prayed that prayer, and asked for that. Instead I got a body that doesn't work quite right and a house full of special needs kids.

Outwardly my life is glorious neither in a worldly sense, nor in a "lets be radical in the Kingdom of God" sense (in the ways that are currently cool to be K.o.G. radical...pick your circle. I just don't quite measure up to anyone's outward standards under any circumstance.)

But what of the inner circumstances of the heart? What if radical is a heart so given over to love of the Father that the love of the world is just not there? Can an ordinary life be lived in a radical way and remain hidden and rather outwardly ordinary, not because those things are being overtly pursued, but because one is a human being living on planet earth?

I have a long way to go, and much to repent of. In better moments I can sense that the veil is so very very thin, and if we could but see, then so much of what we do, think and say would fall away and those things which are eternal would shine so brightly that choosing the One Who Is Life would become a no-brainer.

7 comments:

amberpeace said...

You wrote a lot of my feelings :)

John Nicholas said...

"Can an ordinary life be lived in a radical way and remain hidden and rather outwardly ordinary, not because those things are being overtly pursued, but because one is a human being living on planet earth?"
Sure. Think of the untold thousands of Saints that have walked the earth and are yet unknown to us. They remain anonymous,in part, by the very virtue of their profound humility which makes them Holy.
I think I have been reading on the "Ladder" to much but Humility has been in my mind for some time. Its so simple yet so extrordinarily complex that I dont think I even know what it "looks like" except for an occasional tiny glimpse from far far away.
It seems sometimes that life is just a series of Beginnings joined end to end, doesn't it?

Peace

Mimi said...

Me too. Good job, thank you.

asinamirror said...

Great post! I have been thinking along the same lines. I know not to love the world and that it is foolishness to God, but I wonder how much of the world we have to let in, in order to be functional members of society (or to further His kingdom - the Great Commission, etc.). I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

elizabeth said...

i hear you...i struggle TONS with envy, greed, and a whole host of other things; i too struggle a lot with things and my relationship to them...

i am learning though that even if you have nice things it does not matter; things are merely things and if your heart is not at peace, a new pretty thing will not provide it; if you are afraid, all the money in the world will not reassure you in the depths of where your fear is.

i have my own struggles (though i admit i do not write much about them) but i believe that what my Mom told me as a child holds true -better to be bullied than be the bully - i think it better to be weak and know that one needs God than to be strong and not know.

that said, things are hard for you - you are up against a lot of challenges with your and your families health, etc. so please do not think that i am at all negating your struggle....

it is perhaps not so ordinary to practice repentance and turning towards God....

sending you my love this evening!

Mrs. Parunak said...

Oh, Alana, I LOVE what you said here, "What if radical is a heart so given over to love of the Father that the love of the world is just not there? Can an ordinary life be lived in a radical way and remain hidden and rather outwardly ordinary, not because those things are being overtly pursued, but because one is a human being living on planet earth?"

I think that is THE POINT of the Christian walk. God wants radical hearts. Sometimes, He gives us radical deeds to do, too, but sometimes not. People get excited about the deeds, but I think what God really wants is the radical heart "...for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). So in that sense, no matter how ordinary our lives look on the outside, we can be tremendously pleasing to God. And if God's pleased, then who cares about what men think?

Monica said...

If you like to read, you might try "Middlemarch." If a book were my motto, this might be it: young, idaelistic heroine who wants to do something radical for the world.... ends up disappointed... changes into someone who can do radical things for a few close people.