For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been pondering a section of 1John that has come back to me a few times since reading it… & the next few posts are my processings through it, in no real order… First, the section:
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 forever. 1John 2:15-17 ESV
In reading that, what grabbed me 1st was the phrase, ‘all that is in the world…’ As though the following statements are revelatory about specific ways that we are seduced into sin… I looked up the word translated as “desires,” & found that it is also translated as
‘craving, lust, &/or longing for that which is forbidden…Strongs Concordance – G1939″
Desires of the eyes… what I want. Need. And seeing that I want, no, need what I don’t have. I sense an erosion of contentedness, knowing that my next bout of ‘happiness’ hinges on the accumulation of some thing, some material possession that will Finally put me over the edge into bliss. Until the next craving hits. This desire is never satisfied. It has a roving eye, portraying, promising an emptiness of life unless an attempt is made at fulfilling the craving. Which always returns. With a vengeance.
Makes me contemplate what I’m looking at. What catches my eyes? Maybe its the studies I’ve been doing on idols & Idolatry, but I think this is a fleshing out of a visible, tangible idol; an idol whose face changes, that takes on different shapes. An idol that is hinting at, & occasionally flaunting ‘completeness of me,’ as seen through the jaded, jealous, & judgmental eyes of a nameless, faceless, yet oh so important Other person that will either accept or reject me based upon what I have. Or don’t.
I can feel it in the pit of my stomach.
So the extremist emerges – rather than accumulate, I will divest myself of this materialism, go ‘minimalist’ & detach myself from all of my possessions, & even from the desire to possess, choosing instead to subsist on the bare minimum… & maybe just a bit less. Yep. That’ll do just fine.
But there’s a nagging sense that all I’ve done is exchange one side of the coin for the other. And that the comparisons, the cravings, the lurking enticement remains, though with a different face.
I come back to think on what it means to be “content.” To be able to be at peace, at rest, with a little. Or with a lot. To not need an external ‘security blanket’ that can rot, burn, be stolen, be misplaced… (no matter how nice a Goodall Walnut Standard would make me FEEEEEEL…)
To put my eyes where they belong. On Jesus Christ, the author & finisher of my faith… who was tempted in every way that I am, but Who didn’t give in to sin. Who saw through the empty promises of the lusts & desires, & chose instead obedience…