There is an elephant in the room of Evangelicalism that very few want to talk about. If we bring it up, we face ridicule and labels. “Legalist!” some shout, having little understanding of what legalism really is. “Traditionalist!” others say, as if we don’t have a rich church history and a very old Book as our guide. “Isolationist!” the more thoughtful may counter, having seen some create odd sub-cultures. “Anti-Missionalist,” the more edgy will say, as if being of the world is a necessary part of being in the world to reach the world. Fearing these reprisals, many remain silent about this elephant in the room of Evangelicalism. However, God is not hesitant to speak on this issue. He says, “Do not love the world.”
There is a lot of debate about what “loving the world” means, but I don’t think God leaves us in the dark. As a matter of fact, he illumines us as believers through His word, causing us to “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7). I want to encourage you to meditate on what God says about loving the world, and then I would encourage you to apply it to your life and ministry. God says:
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.” (1 John 2:15-16)
Ask yourself some simple questions:
- Do I love the world? Do I love that which is in and of the world? Are my loves any different from those of the unbelievers around me?
- Do I take sinful desires and actions seriously? Do I see how opposed they are to the holiness and will of God? Do I smell the shed blood of Christ or hear eternal judgment pronounced as I see sin committed? Is what I am willing to accept as allowable for life and entertainment different than that of unbelievers around me?
- Do I arrange my life in such a way that I am not spending my energies fulfilling fleshly desires, chasing after what I see, and finding my identity in what I possess? Are my priorities distinct from unbelievers around me?