The World: Friend or Foe?

Thursday, November 22, 2012 Posted by Sara

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I, like Joline, found myself drawn to some befuddling scriptures this week in light of our theme – our relationship with the world.

I was first reminded of good old John 3:16:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Then I thought of 1 John 2:15:

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.”

Which was quickly followed by John 12:25 and James 4:4:

“Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.”

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”


So, let me get this straight…if I want to be like Jesus, I will love the world – but it will cost me (John 12:25).

True. Love always looks like something. 

And loving the world, to Jesus, looked like sacrifice.  So this seems to imply that if I want to love the world, I will lose my life – laying things down, sacrificing so others would know both the love of God and the gift of life.

But on the other hand, I’m not supposed to love the world, or be friends with it.  Some word study on the word “world” in these verses might suggest it’s the hatred of world systems, not the world and its people in and of themselves – but the systems they create that do not honor God. The apostle Paul may have left some additional food for thought on this topic in 2 Timothy. 

He shares with Timothy that his buddy, Demas has left for Thessalonica because of his love for the world.  So, what does that mean?  It may have meant Demas was loving the world systems or a worldly lifestyle where God was not the center, as Thessalonica was a happening port city.  But Demas might have been lured by another downfall that Paul mentioned in his letters to the Christians of Thessalonica – laziness.

They were convinced Jesus was coming back soon and so refused to work, thinking it a waste of time. 

As I was studying all of this, it made me think again of what it looks like for me to love the world, as Jesus did.  That I would not get caught up in loving all the ways of man, but that I would give my life to investing in this world, laying down my life, loving on the people here. 

As you celebrate today, with much Thanksgiving, what does it look like for you to love the world like Jesus?

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