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Isolation

Isolation

My love for the Father should squeeze out everything else. Wanting my own way is not the Father’s way. Wanting what He wants is the way.

What does He want? God’s goal for me is to love Him. He wants me to love everyone who is a part of my life. He wants me to love like He does.

May my love for the Father squeeze out everything else.

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 everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever. | Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (1 Jn 2:15–17). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Could this read instead, “Do not love the America or the things in the America. If anyone loves America, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in America — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from America. And America with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.

“The world is passing away!”. That statement would be challenged by many men today who are confident that the world — the system in which we live — is as permanent as anything can be. Is it?

But the world is not permanent. The only sure thing about this world system is that it is not going to be here forever. One day the system will be gone, and the pleasant attractions within it will be gone: all are passing away.

Every great nation in history has become decadent and has finally been conquered by another nation. There is no reason why we should suppose that our nation will be an exception. Some nineteen world civilizations in the past have slipped into oblivion.

There is no reason why we should think that our present civilization will endure forever. “Change and decay in all around I see,” wrote Henry F. Lyte (1793–1847), and if our civilization is not eroded by change and decay it will certainly be swept away and replaced by a new order of things at the coming of the Messiah Jesus, which could happen at any time.

What is going to last? Only what is part of the will of God!

Spiritual disciples of Jesus  keep themselves “loosely attached” to this world because they live for something far better. They are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Heb. 11:13). “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14). In Bible times, many believers lived in tents because God did not want them to settle down and feel at home in this world.

John is contrasting two ways of life: a life lived for eternity and a life lived for time. A worldly person lives for the pleasures of the flesh, but a dedicated disciple  lives for the joys of the Spirit. A worldly believer lives for what he can see, the lust of the eyes; but a spiritual believer lives for the unseen realities of God (2 Cor. 4:8–18).

Jesus was clear. His Kingdom is not of this world.

“My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.

“You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” | Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Jn 18:36–37). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

 A worldly minded person lives for the pride of life, the vainglory that appeals to men; but a disciple who does the will of God lives for God’s approval. And he “abideth forever.”

Slowly but inevitably, and perhaps sooner than even Christians think, the world is passing away; but the man who does God’s will abides forever.

This does not mean that all God’s servants will be remembered by future generations. Of the multitudes of famous men who have lived on earth, less than 2,000 have been remembered by any number of people for more than a century.

Nor does it mean that God’s servants will live on in their writings or in the lives of those they influenced. Such “immortality” may be a fact, but it is equally true of unbelievers like Karl Marx, Voltaire, or Adolf Hitler.

No, we are told here that disciples who dedicate themselves to doing God’s will—to obeying God—“abide [remain] forever.” Long after this world system, with its vaunted culture, its proud philosophies, its egocentric intellectualism, and its godless materialism, has been forgotten, and long after this planet has been replaced by the new heavens and the new earth, God’s faithful servants will remain—sharing the glory of God for all eternity.

This present world system is not a lasting one. “The fashion of this world passes  away” (1 Cor. 7:31). Everything around us is changing, but the things that are eternal never change. A disciple who loves the world will never have peace or security because he has linked his life with that which is in a state of flux. “He is no fool,” wrote missionary martyr Jim Elliot, “who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

The New Testament has quite a bit to say about “the will of God.” One of the “fringe benefits” of salvation is the privilege of knowing God’s will. In fact, God wants us to be “filled with the knowledge of His will” (Col. 1:9).

The will of God is not something that we consult occasionally like an encyclopedia. It is something that completely controls our lives. The issue for a dedicated disciple of Jesus is not simply, “Is it right or wrong?” or “Is it good or bad?” The key issue is, “Is this the will of God for me?”

God wants us to understand His will, not just know what it is. “He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel” (Ps. 103:7). Israel knew what God was doing, but Moses knew why He was doing it! It is important that we understand God’s will for our lives and see the purposes He is fulfilling.

After we know the will of God, we should do it from the heart. It is not by talking about the Master’s will that we please Him, but by doing what He tells us. And the more we obey God, the better able we are to “find and follow God’s will” (Rom. 12:2, WMS). Discovering and doing God’s will is something like learning to swim: you must get in the water before it becomes real to you. The more we obey God, the more proficient we become in knowing what He wants us to do.

God’s goal for us is that we will “stand … complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12). This means to be mature in God’s will.

A little child constantly asks his parents what is right and what is wrong and what they want him to do or not to do. But as he lives with his parents and experiences their training and discipline, he gradually discovers what their will for him is. In fact, a disciplined child can “read his father’s mind” just by watching the parent’s face and eyes! An immature disciple of Jesus  is always asking his friends what they think God’s will is for him. A mature Christian stands complete in the will of God. He knows what the Lord wants him to do.

How does one discover the will of God? The process begins with surrender:

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice … be not conformed to this world … that you  may prove [know by experience] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1–2).

A dsiciple who loves the world will never know the will of God in this way. The Father shares His secrets with those who obey Him. “If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17). And God’s will is not a “spiritual cafeteria” where a disciple  takes what he wants and rejects the rest! No, the will of God must be accepted in its entirety. This involves a personal surrender to God of one’s entire life.

God reveals His will to us through His Word. “Your  Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). A worldly believer has no appetite for the Bible. When he reads it, he gets little or nothing from it. But a spiritual believer, who spends time daily reading the Bible and meditating on it, finds God’s will there and applies it to his everyday life.

We may also learn God’s will through circumstances. God moves in wonderful ways to open and close doors. We must test this kind of leading by the Word of God—and not test the Bible’s clear teaching by circumstances!

Finally, God leads us into His will through prayer and the working of His Spirit in our hearts. As we pray about a decision, the Spirit speaks to us. An “inner voice” may agree with the leading of circumstances. We are never to follow this “inner voice” alone: we must always test it by the Bible, for it is possible for the flesh (or for Satan) to use circumstances—or “feelings”—to lead us completely astray.

To sum it up, a disciple is in the world physically, but he is not of the world spiritually. Christ has sent us into the world to bear witness of Him (John 17:18). Like a scuba diver, we must live in an alien element, and if we are not careful, the alien element will stifle us. A Christian cannot help being in the world, but when the world is in the Christian, trouble starts!

The world gets into a disciple through his heart: “Love not the world!” Anything that robs a disciple of his enjoyment of the Father’s love, or of his desire to do the Father’s will, is worldly and must be avoided. Every believer, on the basis of God’s Word, must identify those things for himself.

A disciple must decide, “Will I live for the present only, or will I live for the will of God and abide forever?” Jesus illustrated this choice by telling about two men. One built on the sand and the other on the rock (Matt. 7:24–27). Paul referred to the same choice by describing two kinds of material for building: temporary and permanent (1 Cor. 3:11–15).

Love for the world is the love God hates. It is the love a Christian must shun at all costs!