The world as we now know it is under the curse of sin. This is the world that we are told not to love. Now, God made the world and at the beginning Eden was a perfect world, and if you read the Book of Revelations, we know that the "New Earth" will be a great and wonderous world when the Lord Jesus comes to live with us on Earth for a 1000 years. So it is not the earth we are suppose to reject and avoid (in fact we can't avoid it), and certainly we are not supposed to hate the people or their culture. But what we should loath or hate is sin.
In John 3:16 the Bible says, "For God so loved the world,..." in that scripture the "world" refers to cosmos. it doesn't mean that God love the sin of the world. It means God loved the people in the world. Obviously when Scripture says to us in 1 John 2, "Don't love the world," it is not telling us, "don't love the people of the world." Rather, it is telling us, "Don't love the sin of the world."
Not loving the world to me means: not being mesmerized and intoxicated with or by popular culture. One of the problems that exist in the church today is that, people are bringing much of pop culture, the world, into its worship services. We tend to immerse ourselves in exactly the same things that the people around us who are not saved, involved themselves with. And sometimes you can't tell the saved folk from the unsaved folk.
How do I know that? Well, it is because they talk the way the unsave talk, dress the way pop culture people dress, think the way unsave people think, and are addicted to the wealth and material things that worldly people chase after. What the church is doing is allowing things to captivate and draw their hearts away form God. We can of course love the world and have our hearts directed in the right way, but in many instances we do not guard against loving the decadent, cultural elements that appeal to our very own sin nature, pride, and independence. These things are certainly not pleasing to God.
We have to do more than just quote 1 John 2:15. We have to muster up the courage to actually live out those words. One way that we can do that is to begin to question our relationship to the things that we do, say, think, watch, buy and treasure. For example, we can ask ourselves: "What are the novels, magazines and books I am reading? "What are the movies I am watching?" "What thoughts preoccupy my mind during the day and at night?" "What are the things I talk about to my peers, co-workers and family members?" "Am I proud of my favorite high school, college or professional sports team and am I willing to defend them, but yet am ashame to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone.
When we fail those kinds of test, we have become idolatrous. The passions we invest in other things should never replace our passion and faithfulness to Christ. 1 John 2:15-16 is a warning. the last verse says, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." An idol is any God-substitute, anything we make bigger than Him. If we take some element of our popular culture and make that an idol instead of serving the Lord, it becomes our god. We are set in orgit around it, and god becomes secondary. Idolatry is when God is removed from the throne and something else is put in His place.
Finally we must ask ourselves, "Is anything more important to me than God?" If your answer is yes, it is an idol and we should take it down. We should also ask ourselves, "Is this activity that I am involved in or place that I have been going to contaminating me by tempting me toward sin and helping me be entertained by sin? Do I find myself laughing at filthy jokes that should make me cringe?" If it is something that makes God in His holiness angry, then we need to stop it immediately. That is why we should examine our hearts and pray for God's help to rid us of anything that dishonors Him.
We need God's forgiving power to convict us in areas of sin in our lives not when we are loving the beauty of God's world or the people of the world, but when we are loving the world's idols instead of loving God.
Enjoy the beauty of this cool, crisp, sunny day, and:
"Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers!