The scripture reading for todays is 1 John 2:15, NIV
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
What does it mean to “love the world?” John goes on to explain that it has to do with “the lust of the eyes” and “boasting of what (one) does and says.”
I spent much of my adult Christian life in churches that warned against making favorite things or activities “idols” in my life. They recommended that I look at my checkbook ledger to see where my money was being spent or check my calendar to see how my time was spent. Not that these are necessarily bad ideas, but mentally, the concept of modern day idolatry led me down two paths. For one thing, I think I almost got paranoid about enjoying life. For another, I looked at others who seemed in my mind to be “well off” with lovely homes and the abilities to have expensive hobbies and take lavish vacations. I ascribed to them the sin of idolatry.
As my hair grays and my wrinkles grow more noticeable, I believe a new perspective is better. True blessings, the kind that moths and rust won’t destroy, are gained from time spent with the Father, and not from all that glitters in this world. Doing His work or reading His word brings a superior sort of peace and joy. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Mt 6:21 ESV. Prioritizing is important. As a side note, I have also come to believe that the Holy Spirit convicts and encourages change in a more positive way, and not so much with guilt and shame.
In Psalm 37:4 (ESV), we also learn this concept: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When we move away from the “sights that dazzle” and the “tempting sounds” and draw closer to Jesus, our lives improve. The opposite is also true. “I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by the world’s delight, things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight.” (Palmer Hartsough, 1896)
“Oh Jesus I have Promised” verse 2 (hymn by John Ernest Bode)
Oh let me feel Thee near me
The world is ever near
I see the sights that dazzle
The tempting sounds I hear
My foes are ever near me
Around me and within
But Jesus draw Thou nearer
And save my soul from sin
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, please send your Holy Spirit to show me more ways to put Jesus first. Please reveal to me those things in my life that need reprioritizing to please You. And always help me look only at improvements needed in my own life, and not outward to what others might or might not need to change. Ascribe to me convictions that You choose and strengthen me to grow in Christ, in whose Precious Name I pray.
Juli Hampton Ham10five@gmail.com
Prayer Concern: Those who struggle with guilt and shame