Summary: We've seen the importance of love regarding my salvation and how it needs to be the foundation for all my relationships. We looked at how love is the factor in overcoming fear and unforgiveness. Today we'll see what it has to do with overcoming the world.
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? (part six)
INTRODUCTION: In our series on what love has to do with it, we've seen the importance of love being the basis for my salvation, my relationship with God and my service to God. We've seen how love needs to be the foundation of all my relationships if they are going to be successful. Then we looked at the importance of love in overcoming fear and unforgiveness. Today, in the final installment, we'll look at what love has to do with overcoming the world.
What’s love got to do with overcoming the world?
1) To love is to obey is to overcome.
1st John 5:1-5, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
The only one that can overcome the world is the one who is in agreement with God by believing that they need to be born again. And when I understand that God loves me and I want to love him back I will show that love by obeying his commands.
And when I understand the benefit and wisdom of those commands I will conclude that they’re not burdensome; they’re burden-lifting. When love is the driving force we don’t find doing things a burden. When I love you what I do for you might not be easy but it’s not a problem-I enjoy doing it because it pleases you and I know you appreciate it.
It’s the same with God. When we love God our obedience will not be a burden; it might not be easy but it won’t be excruciating. We might not always be excited about it and sometimes obedience is a struggle but we don't do it begrudgingly. And knowing God loves us it makes it easier to agree with his commands because we know we’ll be the better person for obeying them; we understand the value in them.
When I love God I will overcome the world because I will want to. Before being born-again I didn’t want to overcome the world; I wanted to be a part of the world. I subscribed to the world's ways; I did things according to the flesh. I wasn't looking at things from a godly perspective; I wasn't looking at things from his point of view.
And not only that, I will overcome the world because I know I can. Jesus said in John 16:33, "Take heart, I have overcome the world." And since Jesus overcame the world, because I love and serve him, I can too. Before being born-again I didn’t have the power of Christ living in me but now I do. That's not the reality for the non-Christian . Anyone who's not a Christian can’t truly overcome the world. They might be able to make some positive changes in their lives but it's not the same.
With Christ I can be victorious over temptation as well as overcoming things like materialism and liberalism. Through Christ I can overcome the trappings of the world like greed and lust; these things won’t have a hold on me unless I allow them to. Through obedience to Christ I break the chains of addiction; I escape the emptiness of chasing after worldly lusts. I can replace an unfulfilling, unsatisfying lifestyle with the things of the Spirit that will fill and satisfy me.
Through my love for God and his commands I now have the ability to obtain peace, joy and contentment. I might’ve pursued these things before but they were always beyond my grasp. Not so any longer. With the ability to have true love, peace, joy, and contentment comes the ability to be free from hate, hopelessness, worry and fear. When I love God and his commands I will be an overcomer. My love for God will motivate me to conquer the worldly desires that are invading my life. What's love got to do with it? Everything.
2) You can't love both.
I need to realize that if I love God I can’t love the world too.
1st John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”