Buying into the System


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Bible Reading: 1 John 2:15-17

Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. 1 John 2:15

By the end of his first day at camp, David knew his clothes were all wrong. He said to himself, I thought only girls have to worry about what they wear. But even the guys have to wear just the right kind of swimming trunks and hiking shoes and T-shirts.

Talk about it: When have you been tempted go on a spending spree to keep up with the crowd and fit in? How else have you felt pressured to fit into a mold?

The squeeze we all feel to fit in with our surroundings is real. The problem isn’t just us. It’s even bigger than our peers. It’s what the apostle John calls “the world.”

In many versions of the Bible, John’s warning not to “love the world” sounds confusing. After all, God created this awesome world as a gift to us. He thought up beaches—and then tucked inside some dude’s head the idea of a surfboard. The same John who wrote these words also recorded Jesus’ wild promise to give us “life in all its fullness” (John 10:10). And James tells us that “whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven’s lights” (James 1:17).

So the world we’re not supposed to love must not just be the stuff we see all around us. The New Living Translation quoted at the top of this page makes the meaning clear. John warned us against loving a different kind of world-an evil world. In an evil world we focus on at least three things:

1. Satisfying our sinful nature (making life revolve around ourselves)

2. Grabbing hold of the sinful things we see (being wowed by outward appearances rather than truly good things)

3. Being too proud of what we have (not admitting that everything we own is a gift from God)

That’s the “world” we’re not to fall in love with. It’s a way of living that John said is run by Satan, “the prince of this world” (John 12:31).

You don’t have to dress in a paper bag. But whenever you feel you have to make anything more important than God, that’s a warning to get away from the evil in the world. That world can’t bring you life like God can!

TALK: Say it in your own words: What exactly is “the world”? When have you felt pressured by it?

PRAY: God, help us desire things that last forever. Help us not to get pulled into the attitude of the evil world.

ACT: Got that checklist of three characteristics of the world? Spot how “the world” pressures you today. And report back!


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