As I read this, I can’t help but think that John was reflecting back to Jesus’ own words when He said,
No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money…What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight. (Luke 16:13, 15)
Remarkably close to what John says in this passage.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. (15-16)
Imagine telling your wife, “Yes I love you. But I love this other woman just as much. So I will give of myself to both you and her.”
How would your wife respond? How would you respond if you were the wife? Not well, I would suspect.
But that’s just what so many Christians try to do. All week, they are pursuing and clinging to the things of this world. They chase after money, possessions, power, and pleasure, trying to grasp all the things this world offers. Temporary things. Fleeting things.
And then on Sunday they go to church and sing with tears in their eyes, “I love you Lord.”
But John says that’s not love. You cannot love the things in this world and still truly love God. Your spouse would never accept that kind of love. And neither will God.
He desires our whole heart, not half of it, not three quarters, not even 99 percent. Anything less is unacceptable to him. He needs to be first in our lives, and everything else a distant second.
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (17)
In short, we can pursue what is fleeting or what is eternal. Why pursue a world that is fleeting and will ultimately leave you empty? You might as well pursue a long-term, loving relationship with a prostitute. Both will eventually cast you aside, having taken everything from you and ultimately leaving you with nothing.
But when we pursue God, that’s when we find true life, true love, and true joy. Life, love, and joy that are lasting.
Which will you choose?