It’s been a very long while! HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone! I pray this year brings you much closer to God as you deliberately set out to seek Him!
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
Genesis 3:6 NIV
Let’s take a look at the fruit of the tree in relation to 1 John 2:16:
- “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh [good for food], the lust of the eyes [pleasing to the eye], and the pride of life [desirable for gaining wisdom]—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
1 John 2:16 NIV
The problem with love for the world and the things of the world is seen in 1 John 2:15b NIV: “If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” Love for the world and love for God are mutually exclusive. You cannot truly love two such diametrically opposed powers, each of whom demands your worship.
Anything and any person that has power [in whatever measure] demands [in varying degrees] attention, acknowledgement, honour, intimacy, a commitment of yourself–essentially worship–and no one can give all these in equal measure to two such opposing entities. [A similar principle drives Jesus’ saying that one cannot serve two masters in Matthew 6:24 NIV]. The all-powerful God is certainly not willing to share His glory with anything inferior to Himself [Isaiah 42:8 GNB]. On the other side, that which is inferior to God wants you and your total allegiance as validation of its power.
Let us consider the three categories of the things of the world:
LUST OF THE FLESH: An obsessive, uncontrollable need for the things that make you feel good physically like food, sex, sleep, etc.
You would note that these things, in themselves, are not unrighteous or evil–in fact, they are useful, even often necessary for our well-being. The problem is where the pleasure of these gets in the way of honouring God. That takes one into sin territory.
The potency of the very corrupting lust of the flesh is that it would have you choose the fleeting pleasure to be had by this equally transient body at the expense of your eternity with God.
Many are unwilling to subdue the unregenerate and corrupted/corruptible part of themselves [i.e. the flesh] and this part of a man, left unchecked, has and wields significant pull over a person’s bodily desires which impact a person’s spiritual well-being.
LUST OF THE EYES: An obsessive desire for things that look good [and that one believes make him/her look good in the eyes of people]; things that one would covet because of how physically appealing they look, like phones, laptops, cars, various other machines and gadgets, clothes, shoes, make-up stuff, etc.
Again, none of these things is unrighteous or evil in themselves, however, where the desire for these is obsessive–to the point where acquiring one or any number of these is the sole focus of a person’s life–that is a problem. These are things that look good but the single-minded pursuit of which lead you into danger–my Pastor calls them “attractive distractions” and “destructive attractions”.
So many of us define ourselves by what we have and how we look to other people but our identity is in the One who created us and who has called us to Himself; our identity is not in the things that are around us or that make life comfortable for us.
This is another issue with lust and love for the world–if we’re defining ourselves by these things then God who is the reason why we even get to be here gets side-lined and whatever it is we identify ourselves by takes on an undeserving role of super-importance in our lives. This is why the world thrives on trends and fads and the speed with which they appear and pass; chasing after these keeps whoever is master over them also master over those who desperately desire them. The thrill of this chase will not only leave one weary but also disillusioned because you will learn, eventually, that these things ultimately do not satisfy. Remember, life does not consist in an abundance of possessions [Luke 12:15 NIV].
PRIDE OF LIFE: A compulsive desire that drives one towards achievements because that place of accomplishment where people see you and you see yourself as having made it is the goal–and where the sum of your existence is based on what you have accomplished; the feeling that you’ve arrived.
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? [1 Corinthians 4:7 NIV]
What do you have that you did not receive? Nobody is “self-made”. GRACE makes a man and grace comes from God. True, personal effort and hardwork make a huge difference but they don’t account for anyone’s entire story.
Yes, it’s good to make plans and have goals but your plans and your dreams and your achievements should not take precedence over God–you cannot afford to make an idol of these. #GodOverEverything!
You are more than you earn and more than you own and more than you’ve achieved.
Very unfortunately, ours is a time in which a lot of these ungodly desires have been relabelled so that these things are regarded as normal–the things that are lusted after are called “passions”–and where lust in sinful, passion is admirable. Excellent marketing from the enemy camp, which many of us have fallen for, has left us with a distorted view of sin so that it seems as though sin is no longer wrong but actually admirable. BUT God, the One who is the moral authority on right and wrong, hasn’t changed nor have His standards and opinions on what is right and wrong and so what held as wrong and abominable to Him in the Old Testament remains wrong and abominable to Him in this our modern age.
“She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” v. 6
There is a bit of argument about whether this means he was physically present during the woman’s conversation with the serpent or whether this means he was somewhere nearby but not actually within hearing distance of their conversation. Whichever school of thought you subscribe to about this, the fact remains that a deception happened leading to an act of disobedience that changed the entire fabric of man’s existence.
The enemy has always been out to attack the family system and its structure, most especially the system of headship as ordained by God. In any home where he is given the opportunity, the enemy will find a way to mess with the order of things as instituted by God. Our response? Trust God with our homes and teach our families to respect the order of things as instituted by God. Teach your family [especially your children] what God has said marriage is, who God designed marriage for, who He has determined should be the head of the home and the role each should play as each member seeks to honour God [Colossians 3:18-21 NIV; Ephesians 5:21-6:4 NIV; 1 Peter 3: 1-8 NIV; Titus 2:3-5 NIV]. Done right, this would help us protect the next generation from the attacks of the enemy against the God-given family system.
More grace to us all!