Summary: Satan's methods of temptation only come in three flavors, but God has one answer: Love God and love like God.
The Flavor Of the Week
1Jn 2:15 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.
In the scripture, "world" (cosmos) is used to mean one of three distinct things.
1) The world could mean the physical universe, that which we see with our eyes. Psa 19:1 "To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."
2) World can mean mankind, the special inhabitants of God's creation. Joh 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
It is obvious that the "world and the things in the world" is not speaking of the beauty of God's creation and its reflection of the creator. It is obvious that God is not instruction us to not love mankind, whom He loved and for whom He gave His Son.
3) The world system, including its values, order, passions, religions, goals and principles.
It is that which has fallen from God in the fall. It is defiled and rests under the sway of the evil one. 1Jn_5:19 "We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."
2Pe_2:20 "For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first."
We could spend the rest of the night on a topical study here. How can we identify the elements of the world that have slipped into our lives in a disguise of godliness? We can stop and see the things God hates as a start. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists: "A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren."
Other things mentioned in the listed references are: Pride, arrogance, the evil way (the way of the wicked, including his thoughts), the perverse mouth and heart, dishonest scales, the sacrifice of the wicked, he who justifies the wicked, he who condemns the just, the mouth of an immoral woman, and one who turns away his ear from hearing the law. Ref. Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 11:1, 20; Proverbs 12:22, Proverbs 15:8-9, 26, Proverbs 16:5, 11, Proverbs 17:15, Proverbs 20:10, 23, Proverbs 21:27, Proverbs 22:14 and Proverbs 28:9.
We are not to love the world system at all. There is no degree to which it is acceptable. Love for the world removes the love for God, for "anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
Romans 12:2 instructs us not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed to God's way by renewing our minds. We can assume by this that by simply living in this world, we pick up its practices.
Ill. When I was a boy, my Arkansas cousins moved to California for two years.
When they moved back, they talked funny. Just living in California for two years influenced how they said "You guys" and how often they said it. I prefer "Y'all" to "You guys" any day.
My cousins promised me they didn't try to talk funny, but living with those Californians rubbed off on them.
My wife can just talk to her sister on the phone and I notice a change in her accent. When she hears a New Mexican accent, I ask, "What accent is that?" She says, "That is no accent at all, unlike your Texan."
The same is true with the world's system and values. We, by sinful nature, pick up the values, principles and goals of our society much the same way. James spelled it out clearly in black and white, revealing again the sinfulness of just a minor adjustment in our lives created by the world system.
Jas 4:4 "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."
Both writers point out the polar differences in God's way and the World's way. If you are influenced by the world, James says you stand against God; John says you are devoid of His love.
Then John defines the world in the next two verses.
1Jn 2:16 "For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world."