1 John 2:7-11 ESV
“Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
To hate someone is to detest him. It has to do with intense hostility. It is not a passive word. It is not just to dislike someone. It expresses malice, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness, spite, meanness, contempt, and/or resentment. It means to be actively against someone, wishing them ill will.
Hate is, thus, the opposite of love. And the kind of love talked about here is agape, which means to wish well to and/or to take pleasure in. The word means “to prefer,” which has to do with actively doing what God prefers, to choose his choices. It has to do with embracing God’s will and obeying him.
Love, thus, looks out for what is best for someone where hate may just not care, or it may be actively opposed to and willfully mean toward another out of spite or bitterness. Love will not lie to, cheat on, steal from or abuse another, but hate will do all that and more.
The light is Jesus Christ, it is truth, it is righteousness, and it is the gospel of our salvation from sin. So, if we say we are in Christ, that we are saved from our sins, and that we have eternal life with God, but we are hating a brother or sister in Christ, this says we are still in the darkness (still living in sin).
But if we are agape (loving) our brother or sister in Christ, then we abide in the light (in Christ and in his righteousness). And, again, this means to love like Jesus, for this is godlike love, not human love. So, not everyone who claims to love other people abides in Christ.
Also, to love God with this kind of love means to obey him. If we do not obey the Lord, we do not love him. If we do not love and obey him, we do not know him, and we don’t have salvation from sin and eternal life with God, either (Jn 14:23-24; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:24).
1 John 2:15-17 ESV
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
When it tells us here not to love the world, this is a love which prefers what God prefers and which chooses his choices and obeys them. So, this would be like saying, “Don’t prefer the world, don’t take pleasure in it, don’t long for it or esteem it, and don’t choose its choices.”
We are not to love the world with godlike love, i.e. with the kind of love we have for God. We are not to embrace it, follow it, give it our loyalty and devotion and praise, adhere to it, or take on its character, attitudes, and behaviors. For, we are not to love what is opposed to God.
Now this is not saying we should not love the people of the world. We are to love all people. We are not to embrace or prefer what some of them might do or how they think or behave, but we still love people by doing good to them and by being kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, and compassionate.
We love others as we love ourselves or as we would want to be loved by others. And this is talking about a love that is good, not human love which may be selfish or fleshly. And it is not talking about lust or self-pleasure, self-gratification, or self-indulgence.
We are not to have the same kind of devotion for the things of this world that we have for God. Things are not to be our gods, in other words. God supplies what we need, but we are not to worship stuff. If God supplies us with a place to live, furniture to sit on, and dishes to eat off, etc., then glory to God.
But possessions are not to possess us. They are not to consume us. Everything we have in this life is all temporary and it could all go away in an instant. So, we give everything we have to the Lord. It is his to give and it is his to take away. And if he says give it away, we obey him.
We need to have the kind of love for God over the things of this world that if he called us to pick up our lives and to go somewhere with just the clothes on our backs, we would go, and we would not look back. We would not long for what we just left behind. Our Lord would be our all sufficiency.
When in The Stillness
An Original Work / September 26, 2011
When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.
While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.
Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.