IN THE WORLD or OF THE WORLD?
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. (1 John 2:15-16 NIV)
As we have been celebrating Earth day over the last week, it really blows my mind to see the images from space of just how much CLEANER the Earth looks since the pandemic began. I mean, I started thinking in my mind, maybe this time is also a reset from God for the Earth to protect us for even more years. I mean they took images of the heat of the core of the earth from all of the pollutants and it has drastically changed. They showed images from over Europe and Asia and showed that all of these places that were living in areas with unclean air, the air had been restored from the shut down of the factories and lack of vehicle emissions. I mean when I really think of it, God created all of this for us to be able to exist with one another. Earth was created as a place for us to live and prosper, but when did we take what God meant for good and change it for evil? I know the simple answer... Genesis 3 when sin entered into the world. But let's really look at the truth of living IN the world but not to be OF the world today.
See the reality is this, God is still in control of everything and is the King of the World. He created it out of nothing and continues to offer it as a temporary place for us to exist and grow and learn and discern the next steps of our lives. But to me, I see that there are 2 very different distinctions of the term WORLD. The first is the dwelling place that God cerated when he separated the skies and the land. It was the place that was formless and in the darkness until God said let there be LIGHT. And then God began creating and weaving together this amazing tapestry of land, air, earth, grass, water, etc.. He put together an
AMAZING tapestry that allows us to see the pureness and beauty of God. Then there is the the other definition of the word World. This definition moves into the understanding that the world is what WE created out of God's perfection. It is the pieces of the puzzle that we started adding to the picture in order that we could have it our way and not have to be held to any rules or restrictions. We began to distort the picture in such a way that instead of following the rules we were making the rules. Instead of listening and discerning, we began telling people this is the way that it has to be because we want to be in control of EVERYTHING. In reality we want to have the power of God without any of the consequence. So in our world, sin continues to thrive and we look the other way because it is just not worth the time to fight the battles any more. We have created a world within a world and boxed it up and don't want God to be a part of it at all until we are in desperate need of saving.
Here is where we step into the story today. John is still dealing with the generation that is ready to go back to their lifestyle instead of humbling their hearts and following the teaching of Jesus. They were ready to take back control and to receive instead to give. They were ready to refocus on what was right in front of them instead of looking at the path that Jesus had already laid out for them. Sound familiar? I think so.. I think that we too have created a world within the world. We all want the safety and assurance that God is there for us and that we will do what we can to live a life for God, but in reality, we are living in the world that we have created. Many times we don't stop and as scripture says for us to, "not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6). Do we really do this? Do we present EVERYTHING to God or do we just give God the tough stuff. See living IN the world means that we do walk, talk and engage with the world because we have been called to carry the Light into the world. That means that we cannot stay in our castles with the drawbridge drawn, but it means that we are to prepare and equip ourselves to walk into the world for the Gospel. To be OF the world means that we have chosen to be in control ourselves. We want to make all of the decisions and not have to think about the reality of giving up control. We step into sins of the world that continues to surround us and make the rationalization that's it's ok... I can handle it. I'm better than this person or that person. We begin to find comfort in what the world offers instead of realizing the real battle that we are in for our lives. The reality is that all throughout scripture and in our lives today, we want to be god. That's the real reality. We may say that we don't but really we do. We want the power of life and death and decisions and we begin to watch as the WORLD that was created for life begins to grow smaller and smaller and smaller because of the world we are creating.
I believe that God continues to open our eyes to reality. The world is full of corruption and sin... we know that. We may not want to admit it but it is. Physically we see it based on the images that I spoke of earlier. God is reseting HIS WORLD, first it started with the physical and then the spiritual. God has reset our world so that we are no longer focused on the lifestyles, and the power and the money and the craziness of this world. God is blowing up our ideals and helping us to reset. God is helping us to realize the most important part of our lives is life and family and the fruits of the spirit that will allow us to reset our foundation
in God not the world. Remember the song, He's got the WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS. I still believe the truth of those words. I believe that GOD is still in CONTROL and has called us to step back into the world HE created and live IN the world that was filled with life. Not to recreate the world in our way, but to live IN the world HIS WAY. I know that may sound a little crazy today, but the reality is that God is taking back over and we can either be a part of the reboot, or we will find that we will be left behind to live in the world WE created, which will not continue to exist. So please listen to the last part of 1 John 2 verse 17, "the world and its desires pass away, but the one who does the will of God lives forever."Hear that.. the world that we have created is going to pass away... those who are willing to live IN God's World, and will submit their lives to God, will live with God forever because remember God created life and that life we will share with God for eternity.