1 John 2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
The Bible is so full of rich truth! It is like a deliciously rich dessert that is also nutritionally balanced and good for you. However, describing it in those terms is highly ironic in light of this verse. We have trouble with both parts of the first half of this verse. We don’t like to think of the world being destroyed, but natural disasters and war give us some sort of image of what that might be like, However, we can’t even think of the world’s desires passing away, because our desires seem to define us as human beings. We tend to feel that if we have no desire, what’s the reason for existence? However, we need to realize that this is talking about the world’s desires. When we want more of God, when we desire greater obedience to and intimacy with Him, that is holy and pure and is as eternal as He is. The nice thing is, there is no limit to it because He is infinite! Because we exist in the flow of time and the material universe, these things are hard to grasp. However, it fits in perfectly with one of Jesus’ most famous sayings: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) When our desires are in line with God, they are met abundantly! A major part of growing as a Christian is getting our desires in line with those of our Lord. It’s recently come up that He wants us to be holy, (1 Peter 1:13-16) and Paul states clearly that He wants everyone to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4) It is when we allow God to replace our desires with His that we discover the barriers to fellowship with Him have gone down and we experience the deep peace and joy for which we were created.
This is something into which I am continuing to grow. I’m not there 100% yet, and that’s OK. While we are on this earth, it’s OK to enjoy life, but I’ve got to be very careful were my love lies. As verse 15 makes very clear, my love is not to be for material things or the world’s system, but for my Lord and His children. The straighter my priorities are, the more I enjoy life! As a pastor, I deal with some miserably unhappy people. In my experience, the majority of their unhappiness comes precisely from this point of their desires and priorities. It’s like James said: “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3) That’s a pretty good description of the effects of selfishness. One of my most common statements in counseling is that selfishness never leads to happiness; at best it leads to momentary pleasure. When I say that to others so often, I’d better remember it myself! It’s like David said, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) When the Lord is my desire, He meets that desire abundantly!
Father, thank You for Your appointments for yesterday. One was something that’s been nagging at me, but the second was completely unexpected. Thank You for giving me a kick in the seat to get me going on the first, which put me in line for the second. Help me indeed be fully in tune with You, operating on the basis of Your desires, so that Your will may be done for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!