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. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17
I heard a pastor speak once about how we know what it is that we love.
Very simply, he said, to really know what we love, we need to stop listening to our mouths. Our mouths will say we love many things, but they don’t always tell the truth.
To really know what we love, we have to look at how we spend two things: Our time, and our money. If we love the Lord, our time and money will reflect that better than our mouths ever will.
John gives us a little list in the middle of verse sixteen that I need to learn to pay attention to. He says that desires in the world can be broken down three different ways: desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and pride of life (my Bible also has a different translation – pride of possessions). None of these, he tells us, are from the Father. So really, our desires can be put in one of four categories: the same former three, or the desire to please God.
What would my life would look like if I stopped before I bought something, and asked myself which category my purchase fell under? What everyday decisions would I make differently if I ran them through this filter, and only did activities that fell under the category of desiring to please God?
I pray that this month we would learn to remember John’s filter in little decisions throughout our day. That we would be discerning, and God would give us wisdom to see whether our desires and subsequent actions are reflective of a love of God, or a love of things in the world.