Fading Are the World’s Best Pleasures

Why Jesus Is My Hero #44 of 52

The "New iPad"

How do we take seriously the battle with the world, the flesh and the devil?

Yesterday I went along to the London Men’s Convention at Westminster Chapel. The theme was “The Fight” – encouraging us blokes to take that battle seriously. Al Stewart from Australia delivered the first talk, tackling the issue of our battle with The World – that is, the world in rebellion against God, the constant atmosphere of anti-God thinking and values that is so pervasive that we’re hardly even aware that we’re breathing it in all the time.

Al’s address was based on these verses from 1 John 2:15-17:

“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 in possessions–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 for ever.”

This sinful world craves and chases after all manner of things – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s unrestrained sexual desire or greedily lusting after the latest iPad or gluttonous eyes that are constantly bigger than your stomach, the world is constantly feeding us messages about what will make us happy – encouraging us to seek our happiness and contentment in the things that God has made rather than in God himself, and often in the process making us sick through overindulging in things we’d have been better off without. Add to that our pride in our possessions – the way we use the things that we have as a kind of status symbol, seeking our identity in the stuff that we own rather than in Christ.

But John gives us the antidote when he reminds us that “the world is passing away along with its desires”. None of the stuff we crave and lust after will last. The new iPad soon becomes the old iPad, the food is soon gone and its taste quickly forgotten, the illicit pleasure of the affair gives way to the misery of guilt and broken relationships.

Putting our hope for happiness in the things of this world is a recipe for disappointment. Yet there is one source of lasting joy that will never let us down: as I have written previously, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes or passes away, and the joy of living with him as your king is the kind of pure, unadulterated pleasure that doesn’t leave a rotten taste in your mouth.

As Psalm 37 puts it so beautifully:

“But [the wicked man] passed away, and behold, he was no more;
though I sought him, he could not be found.
Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.”