Friday, February 28, 2014

Love For the Father

Chuckle:  Adam said to his wife, "Eve, I wear the plants in this family!"
Quote:  "Love of God and love of created things are contrary the one to the other; two contraries cannot exist in one and the same person." --St John of the Cross, Ascent I
    "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 NLT).
Loving the things of our evil world is sometimes called worldliness.  When we think of worldliness, we tend to focus on behavior -- acting in a worldly or sinful way, as demonstrated by the people with whom we associate; the places we frequent; or activities we enjoy.  But loving the world begins as a condition of the heart, which manifests itself in three basic attractions: (1) lust for the gratification of our physical desires; (2) lust for what is appealing to the eye -- materialism; and (3) pride in one's importance or status.  It was in these same three areas that Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the garden; and he used the same tactics again when tempting Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
On the other hand, those who truly love God exhibit certain characteristics in their lives: they have unconditional love for others; they display a generous spirit; they are dedicated to humble service; they exercise self-control; and they continually seek to know God better each day through prayer and Bible study.  Their focus is on God and His kingdom.  God's values become their values.
The ways of the world are totally contrary to God and His ways, and each of us must decide daily whether to love the world or our heavenly Father.  We cannot love both -- we must choose one or the other.  Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money" (Matthew 6:24 NIV).
Sadly, some "Christians" try to impress others by visibly avoiding worldly attractions and pleasures while, at the same time, harboring worldly desires, attitudes, and values deep within their hearts.  We may be able to fool other people, but we can never fool our heavenly Father who knows everything about us, even the deepest and darkest secrets of our hearts.
So, it's obvious that God desires us to love Him, as revealed in the "Great Commandment -- "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37 NIV).  If we faithfully obey this commandment, our desires and love for worldly attractions will fade into our distant memory.  Let's ask ourselves: what values are most important to me?  Do my actions reflect the world's values or God's values?  Do I love God or the world?  We cannot have it both ways!!

Love, Jerry & Dotse 


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