Do you enjoy popular detective TV shows such as Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, or maybe the classic Law & Order? Most of us do. In each scenario, the crime scenes are always littered with evidence left behind by a culprit that will soon be discovered by the shows most popular investigator. With that in mind, I want to ask you today to play the role of the chief forensic investigator of your life. I want to ask you to investigate your life and discover the evidence in it that will lead you to answer this question:
What do you TRULY love?
So many of us, if we are honest with ourselves, discover after evaluating all the evidence that our hearts are entangled with a deeply passionate love for one thing: the world and the things of the world. In my own life, the evidence has always been clear when this problem exist. For example, I can always look and see a distorted list of priorities. I see the demands of the world, the worries of the world, and the pursuits of the world commanding my life and I see my pursuit of God becoming a thing of convenience. In these seasons of my life, I begin to see my desire for the admiration of the world taking precedence over my desire for the pleasure of God. I begin to see an insatiable desire to please my most sinful desires in these seasons and I begin to feel my spiritual desires go into starvation mode. Lastly, I begin to see my pride in myself rise and my daily dependence upon a faithful God fall. All of these are the result of a growing love of the world. In this reality, John the disciple of Jesus gives us clear instruction about this love. He 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.”
Do no love the world or the things in the world.
What a clear statement in regard to our stance with the world! Clearly, this is not meant to imply that we are to lack compassion or care for the world. However, it is sternly proclaimed that our hearts must not be entangled with the things that this world offers. John mentions three things that we can so clearly identify with in our struggle with the world: the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life. These three things are devices clearly evident in the philosophies and ideologies that the world promotes. First, the world incites the flesh through appealing to our former and rebellious nature. The world is full of the promotion of the idea that we are to be liberated from the ways of God in order to live our own way. Simply, “I did it my way” has become the message of the human race. The world attempts to lead us to do things our way through selfish reasoning, sexual distortion, and a misguided quest for independence. Second, the world incites the eyes with the dual promotion of sexual images and incessant marketing. Both of these things lead their followers to discontentment and sinful behavior. Lastly, the world incites pride through the worship of ambition. Success in our world and through the eyes of the world has become God in many ways. What is the Christian to do with these things?
The Christian is to separate themselves from even the hint of love towards any of these devices. As Christians, our love is not to be poured out into a finite thing, which John says, “is passing away along with its desires.” (1 John 2:17 ESV) Instead, our love is to be poured into the infinite God that is faithful and will never pass away. From the beginning of Israel, God declared, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut. 6:5 ESV) That imperative continues to stand with all Christians today. We are to look within ourselves and discover what has captured our hearts. As we investigate, the world should never be the culprit. Instead, the culprit that we find as we examine the evidence must be an Awesome and Holy God that continues to steal our affections and command our loyalty. We must daily evaluate our commitments, measure our spiritual growth, and treasure the works of God in our lives. Today, do the investigation! Pray that you discover more and more that the heart thief in your life is God and God alone!