Photo By Frank Mckenna On Unsplash
“ 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,NIV
In a world filled with visual beauty, it feels impossible not to be caught up in material means, people, money, and temporary pleasures. It is far easier to focus on what we can see on the outside — the way someone looks, how rich we are, or the number of colorful photos on someone’s social media profile.
I had a friend call me up to confess that she has been feeling empty lately. She told me that she fills her days with jealously, looking through people’s profiles. At their happy smiles, their airplane tickets, and their designer homes. When will she feel the sense of contentment and joy that they thought? She anxiously asked me if I had ever felt the same despair.
The truth is that I had. And I continue to fight the material attractions of the world every day. As humans, we often forget to check in with ourselves. Someone may have a busy, prosperous life — but do we know how they truly feel? Are they content? Do they feel a sense of connection to themselves and God?
I have learned that the more we indulge in the love of the world, the more disconnected we feel with ourselves, our soul, and God. When we run after what we see, we forgo how we think. A day spent being grateful for all that will not make us rich or famous.
We feel the urge to compare our lives with others and be “productive,” — so how can we allow ourselves to stop and take a breath? However, when we connect with God, we experience inner peace, grace, and joy.
The will of God lives forever.
You might make the mistake of thinking that this means you can never pursue worldly attractions. Every human craves a sense of security and well-being through their wealth and social circle. The problem arises when we make these attractions our purpose — our goal — rather than see them as the supporting structures in our journey towards God.
God made all that we see, feel, sense, and experience in any way. He created a world filled with lust and material attractions. There’s no question that he knows the effect these have on us — which is why it’s so easy to fall prey to not feeling good enough.
That is why the command is to “not love the world.” Do not love it, even though it is tempting. Even though you cannot see God, you must love him and do His will — because that is forever. And that is the test. Only when you experience it for yourself, do you come to realize how rewarding it is.
The world and its desires pass away.
When we love the creator rather than the creations, our perspective shifts; the world and its desires come and go because they are temporary and unreliable. In the blink of an eye, we can lose all we have spent a lifetime collecting: our wealth, our friends, our homes.
What remains underneath the once shiny exterior is our love for God and our connection with him. And if we never invested any time in cultivating that connection — the loss of worldly means leaves us feeling empty and disconnected — the way my friend was feeling.
To have the feeling of desire is human. God created that, too. However, to have a passion for the world — a fleeting concept of which we have no control — is detrimental. By telling us that the world and its desires pass away, God is telling us that the desire to connect with Him is what makes us feel fulfilled.
We must channel our need to feel content and “enough” in the direction of God. It is the only connection that never passes or fades. It exists independently of the material world — it resides within the realm of our soul.
Clear your heart to make space
The love for the world cannot exist alongside the love for a higher power. It is draining and burdensome and leaves us feeling incomplete. I told my friend what I often tell myself — to take a deep breath and focus on how I feel inside.
The disconnect stems from a lack of real, authentic connection with the one who created our soul. The jealousy emerges from a place of criticism of our own being: why can’t we feel happy like they do? But the truth is, we can. And we don’t need to wait for a picture-perfect life to feel joy.
I can feel content with what I have — because what I have is a connection to my higher self and God. There’s no way for me to compare this bond with anything and anyone else — hence it is entirely and utterly my own — and so my heart is full. You can experience that joy also.