John writes in I John 2:15, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (NASB)
And yet we are called – even commanded – to love people, who are in the world.
I John 2 continues: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (I John 2:16, NASB)
In an online newsletter, author Anna Rountree writes, “‘The world’ here is not the physical earth but a biblical term for Satan’s realm – his gaudy façade – on this planet. He rules over a pseudo-culture where human beings are exalted above God. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are trinkets, hollow rewards dangled before us like jewels by Satan to entice us to turn our eyes and our hearts from Jesus.”*
I like her phrase, “gaudy façade.” It opens up a volume of description in just two words. The façade – that man is in charge and defines or somehow controls Who God Is – grabs our senses, stimulates our imaginations…and it doesn’t want to let go. And if the enemy is successful in blinding “our eyes and our hearts” from the One Who Loves us, calls us, and empowers us, it is easy to lose sight of one crucial, defining fact about our identity which is proclaimed from high mountaintops by God, Himself: man, God’s crowning creation, wasnever intended to be of this world. Jesus said of those who embraced Him, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16)
It is the goodness of God, and the victory of Jesus, that allows Paul to proclaim, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:28, 33-35)
If we allow ourselves to love any measure of the structure Satan has set up to exalt man while the Father’s Heart and Love are concealed and distorted, we will not see the empowerment, the destiny, or the opportunities to love people out of the gaudy façade. Out of the pseudo-culture. Out of death and into Life.
And that would be tragic.
*”3 Keys to Moving in the Supernatural Love of God,” Anna Rountree, Identity Network, online website