First John was written so “that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 Jn 5:13): the whole epistle describes the characteristics of true believers and contrasts them with false believers. The sign of a true believer is that he begins to change his beliefs, values, priorities, and commitments to conform to God’s word.
First John 2:15 is written to those who struggle with craving what the world offers to satisfy their deepest needs and wants. They were told to “stop or cease loving the world” and the accompanying senseless lust for possessions, power, prestige, and pleasures. Satan attempts to persuade us that such things will satisfy us more than our relationship with Christ and being obedient to His word. Here we are being taught a new lifestyle.
In verses 16–-17, John clarifies what he means by “all that is in the world”: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” It is the passion to find fulfillment and meaning in life apart from Christ—-satisfying the flesh instead of the heart, which only Christ can fill. A person worships the things he believes he needs to feel secure or fulfilled in life. The world promises a mirage, because “the world is passing away, and the lusts of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (2:17).
First, we cannot love God and love the world simultaneously: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24). Both masters demand loyalty and obedience.
Second, it is futile to trust the world to satisfy your cravings: “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity” (Eccl 5:10). The world promises satisfactions, but only the fool believes such lies.
We are not commanded to abandon the world or to never enjoy the things in the world; we are commanded not to love things, show them off, or brag about them to demonstrate our importance. God knows the heart of man. Do you love things more than God’s will? God knows the answer, but He will test you to bring you out of your denial. Are you ready?
“Dear Lord, it is possible for the heart of a believer to be enticed by the things of this world; therefore I run to You and Your word to help me set my affections on heavenly things so I may not be drawn away from You.”