Read - 1 John 2:16
Message - Alan Burke
Have you had your breakfast yet? What was it today, porridge, full ulster, a bowl of fruit, boiled egg and toast, we all like different things and I even know someone who eats mackerel for breakfast every day. But why do we not just eat porridge for every meal of every day, it would save you a fortune, you might even loose a bit of weight although that would probably be because you just couldn’t face another bowl of it after a week and would prefer to starve. Ecclesiastes reminds us “And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.” (8:15) It would be absurd to deny that God in his goodness has not given us much pleasure in this life or this world, after all he did not intend life to be miserable for when he created he made it all very good (Gen 1:31). We were created by God with appetites and desires that can be satisfied in the right and appropriate way. Yet John has just told us not to love the world or things of this world and here he explains what that means, for we can all take pleasure in the good things that God has given us in a sinful way, ways in which the satisfaction of our appetites and desires are sinful. Here John focuses our minds on three things, three desires, desires of the flesh, the eyes and pride, they are a warning to us for giving into them will do us more harm than good, giving into these things will do us more harm that good.
Firstly desires of the flesh. Desire in and of itself is neither good or bad, rather it is the object of that desire that causes it to be good or bad. The desire to procreate is a good thing but when that desire transforms into self seeking gratification that overflows in how we look at others, how we think of others, how we talk to others then it is wrong. We could think of many more examples of lust for physical pleasure.
Secondly desires of the eyes - they eyes are often the source of desire. This isn’t just one thing in one way, this is something that can affect us all in so many ways. When we see something and it slowly captivates our thoughts and it becomes our desire. What an apt warning to us in todays age, when we are constantly being bombarded by adverts as we watch television, as we browse the internet, as we engage in social media, things that captivate the eyes that lead us to desire more and more, coveting those things. Or what about the lifestyle magazines that are filled with beautiful pictures of homes, or cars, or luxury items that can all be ours and we don’t need to worry about the cost we can just take our credit.
Thirdly the Pride of life - the word that is used here for ‘life’ denotes the things that support life, like the roof over your head, the clothes on your back - pride means boasting, arrogance, the desire to impress. These things together, the pride of life is a life that is lived in self sufficiency, independence from God.
We all face battles and temptations like this every day, and we often fail, but John’s point is if you give in go on continually yielding to these these things then you are showing your love for the world not God. What we need to understand is that the world and what it offers us cannot produce what it offers us, the attractions of this world are fundamentally deceptive, it’s like drinking salt water, far from brining satisfaction the unquenchable thirst is increased, for the believer if the believer does not say no then the unquenchable thirst can take over. Do not love the world or the things of this world (15).
Are there more Gods than one?
There is but One only, the living and true God. (Deut. 6:4, Jer. 10:10)