If we attach our affections to the things of this world, we will spend eternity separated from the love of God; however, if we attach our affections to the person and work of Jesus, we will spend eternity in the presence of God where there is light and hope forever.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For 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. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
– 1 John 2:15-17
When I was growing up, I loved the sport of skateboarding. I was fascinated by the culture, clothing, and language. The vast majority of my time was spent learning tricks and researching the newest skate companies. I vividly recall the joy I felt when a UPS driver arrived at my house to deliver a CCS box. That box contained magic. It provided opportunities. Within its four walls was a complete skateboard, each component I carefully selected after hours of flipping through skate magazines. Skateboarding was a means to happiness.
After skating all day with my friends, we would huddle around the television to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater or watch the X-Games, a competition featuring the best skateboarders in the world. I knew I was destined to be the next Tony Hawk. I was going to be a famous professional skateboarder. I just knew it.
Even though I spent years developing the craft, my dreams of stardom never materialized in the real world. I was crushed after realizing I would never be a famous skateboarder.
Why do I share these childhood memories with you? I share them because we all have the propensity to set our affections on things of this world. We often find our hope, identity, and purpose in the things we do and love. Please hear me clearly, developing our God-given talents and desires is never a problem. In fact, we should always seek to steward the gifts God has given us. The real problem arises when we attach our affections to things of this world apart from any connection to God or His glory.
The Constant Threat of Worldliness
In her commentary on the epistles of John, Marianne Meye Thompson states that worldliness looks like a constant rejection of God’s claims in favor of our own values and desires.
If Thompson’s words are true, we must ask ourselves some serious questions: What values are most important to us? What do we desire most? Can our answers be reconciled with the claims of Scripture?
Sadly, many of us fall into worldly patterns without even realizing it. Scripture is crystal clear. In Romans 12:2, Paul says,
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Furthermore, James 4:4 says,
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.