Getting it right; you are here for God
Key text: 1 John 2:15-17
It has often been argued that this current generation (known as millennials) are the most entitled and narcissistic generation we have seen. I feel that this unfair as they are simply living in an age where their narcissism is rewarded rather than rejected.
Entitlement and narcissism is not a millennial problem; it is a human problem. We all have this tendency; but for the first time in history; due to the advent of social media there is an acceptable medium to unrestrictedly express that narcissism and be rewarded for it with likes.
There is an interesting lie we tell ourselves; I deserve this or the other way I don’t deserve this. Most of would never admit that we think that the world revolves around us. But our language gives us away; we deep down do think that it does.
This may be a shock for some of you here this morning but this world was not made for you.
So this morning we will be addressing this reality, and hopefully we will realign our views of life getting it right; you are here for God!
Our text for this morning is 1 John 2:15-17. If you have your Bibles please turn there. As we read church let us remember that everything in this world was made for God not for us and it is light of this reality that we read;
15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
It is passages like this that cause us either to shut down or to run to extreme views that are somewhat hypocritical. We are in the system of the world; we all have bills and demands on our time and wallets that are unavoidable; no matter how “pious” (in fact ascetic) we want to be.
I remember getting into a conversation with a person I looked up who said I refuse to see my salary so I don’t get wrapped up in what I earn; because it must be all about God.
Now at first I thought wow that admirable; but the more I reflect upon it the more I think that that is actually just being a bad steward of what God has given us.
Not loving this world is not running away from the things of this world (there are multiple places in the NT that remind us to be in the world – but not of it). We are called to live in this world; and we have to be a part of the world to live in it.
So when John commands us to not love the world he is commanding us to re-evaluate our view of the world and realise that ultimately this world was not made for us; rather and ultimately we were made for God. When we get this right how we live in the world become more aligned with how God desires for us to live in the world
I believe when we love the things of the world and what John describes in this passage we are selling ourselves short; we are settling for far less that what is promised.
You see church you were made for God so because of this you were made for more than:
What you can experience
John says we show we don’t have the love of God in us when we love the world. And then he states that everything in the world – the lusts of the flesh do not come from the Father. What does he mean here? Well, church you were made for more than you can experience.
When I think the world was made for me I have an unhealthy expectation that the world owes me experience; happiness etc. Why wait for marriage for sex when the world owes me the experience? Why wait till I earn something when I can buy it on credit; I deserve to spoil myself every now and again. Why love my spouse unconditionally; I deserve to be loved!
Church this world was not made for you; rather you were made for the Father. If you were made for the Father then our responsibility is not to experience all that we can experience; rather it is to bring glory as best as we can bring glory.
And if we were truly made for Him then doing this would bring us greatest fulfilment; which finds its expressing in reality.
Church you will never find satisfaction from what you can experience; rather in the raw experience we get a glimpse of glory but are immediately left hungry for more. This shows me that experiences are not inherently bad; but when they are the goal they will leave us hungry.
Why because we are made for better. Does this mean that we must live boring uninvolved lives; because all we should be doing is worshiping God? No I am saying you were made for God; therefore don’t seek the experience seek God in the experience; He is the greater reality; not you enjoyment of it; rather His glory in it.
This will aid us in our decision about what we experience; for rather than asking is this good (which is profoundly subjective)? We ask does this bring glory?
Church you are made for more than you can experience. And because you were made for God you are made for more than
What you can get
The next thing John says is for everything in the world… the lust of the eyes… does not come from God.
This is the desire for all you don’t have. The interesting thing about the modern world is that we have somehow convinced ourselves that converting is a virtue. Workaholic is no longer seen as a problem to overcome; it is demanded of us in our place of work and expected from our culture.
We have somehow convinced ourselves that the sum total reason for existence is to consume. I was always amused how many totally inappropriate and down-right rude statements Nat’s got when she told people that she was studying to become a teacher.
I remember one person saying,“But you’re an ‘A’ student; why don’t you study something that can actually make some money.” Another friend said, “You do know teachers earn nothing.”
We don’t exist to consume; we exist to bring glory to God. What we can gain in this world is a gift not a reason to be alive; if you pursue what you can get it shows you haven’t got it right. You are existing for yourself; but church, you exist because of God and therefore you exist for Him.
Don’t waste your life just consuming; live your life to bring Him glory!
Finally because you were made for God you are made for more than…
What you can accomplish
John says finally the pride of life does not come from the Father. This pride of life is everything that we can own or accomplish.
Does this mean being rich or doing well is evil? Absolutely not! It is when these things are the end that we have missed it. The bible commands us to commit our ways to God and to do all things unto the Lord.
Therefor hard work commitment and doing our best is a command. However, we do these thing from a place of gratitude that understands that what we have and what we can achieve is by the hand of God and every action will be held to account by Him who blessed us. Therefore all that we can do and accomplish is not an end we cannot love these things; they are simply blessings things that point back to the one who we were made for.
Is it wrong to do the best and be the best in your company? No, by all means do and be the best you can do! But if that is your only pursuit; that all you are trying do in this life is make a name for yourself and have the most stuff; you will discover (too late, I’m afraid) that these are empty pursuits because you were made for something far more glorious than your own accomplishments.
I enjoy work; I feel great reward from accomplishing tasks and doing what I do. But I have realised that it is not the sole reason I exist. I love all the blessing I have in my life but have also learned that they are the “sprinkles” of life not the “ice-cream”.
These things also give a false sense of fulfilment; however it is fleeting and do not satisfy the deep longing of our souls; because the deep longing of our souls is rooted in how we are made.
You and I are made in the image of God and therefore we are made for God.The greatest level of joy and satisfaction we can achieve in this life and even the life to come will be rooted in the glory we give to the one who created us.
Everything else (and I mean absolutely everything) will be a very far second to that reality.
This is why church the love of this world and what it has to offer; a giving of ourselves to this world to find fulfilment in it will always leave us empty and lost; because you and I were never meant to find fulfilment in this world; we were meant to find it is our God.
So many people pursuit “good things” but they are not to be your pursuit they are simply the blessing of making Him your pursuit.
A great family is a noble pursuit right? No it is the blessing of making God your pursuit!
A good reputation is a noble pursuit right? No, again it is simply the blessing of living a life for Him!
You see even this “noble pursuits” can and inevitably do become corrupted if we pursue them as an end. However, as we align ourselves with His will; and make His glory our chief God so all these noble things are added as blessing to us as well.
I believe we are seeing this principle at work within the ruling party of our country at the moment. The ANC pursued the freedom of its people as an end; however like all liberation movement was consumed by those who won the struggle; because rather than being accountable to that freedom they rather turned it in on itself and said I fought for the struggle therefore now I deserve… and corruption and nepotism follow.
When we make our life’s goal something other than God we inevitably become god in the equation and we make terrible gods.
So church don’t love this world and what it has to offer don’t pursuit its pursuits. Rather love God let Him fulfil you and make Him and His glory your chief concern and the wonder is when we do that all the blessing follow anyway.