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Understanding Worldly Desires

The world system is one of our three spiritual enemies.  Like the flesh and Satan it is set on turning our hearts from God. The world’s approach is different from the flesh and Satan.  Today we are looking at worldly desires.

Food court” is a fairly recent term that’s become part of American vocabulary. Someone had the brilliant idea of grouping a variety of fast food restaurants in one area in a mall. The goal was that everyone would find something they liked to eat. It worked. Now shoppers satisfy their desire to eat from multiple types of food.

food court - worldly desires

Our enemy the world system is like a spiritual food court of desires. The flesh gives us a specific menu of bad desires. In contrast, worldly desires are described in three categories, with options within each one. Here’s how John describes it,

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. 1 John 2:16 ESV

Remember, the world is the culture around us with its values, priorities and ideals. We see it in media, movies, advertising and all around us with our neighbors and coworkers. Let’s examine these worldly desires.

Three Categories of Worldly Desires

  1. The desires of the flesh – Yes, these are what we talked about in yesterday’s post. The desires of our three enemies overlap. The world takes the desires of the flesh and glamorizes and promotes them. Advertisements saying it’s cool to carouse, TV shows called Revenge, and perfume named Envy are examples.
  2. The desire of the eyes – This is a desire for beauty as defined by the world. It’s on magazine covers with perfectly airbrushed models, muscular men and the latest clothing fashions. The world touts beautiful homes, cars, skin and vacation locations as the way to happiness.
  3. Pride of life – This is selfish ambition. The world promotes success, financial security, status and power as necessary ideals.

These are just a few examples. The reason we’re given categories instead of lists of worldly desires is they change over time. A desirable car was a desirable buggy three hundred years ago. The objects change but the worldly desires behind them don’t.

Our problem with the world is that it’s so attractive that we fall in love with it. It sounds like a strange thing to say, but that’s how the Bible describes it. We end up devoting our time, our energy and our resources chasing the dreams the world dangles before us. The scriptures say we befriend it James 4:4 and love it 1 John 2:15 and in so doing make ourselves God’s enemy.

What do you love most in this world? What would you miss most if you went to heaven today? We have a choice. We need to stop loving it 1 John 2:15 and immerse ourselves in God’s values and continually renew our minds with His values Romans 12:2.

How much of a problem do you think the world is for most Christians? Please leave a question or comment below.

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Ward Cushman

My journey of faith started when I was nine years old when I realized that Jesus died and rose again to pay for my sins. At the age of thirteen I felt the call of God on my life for ministry.

I have been fortunate to work in the marketplace for over ten years and in full-time Christian ministry for over thirty years.

My passion is to teach God's Word in such a way that it is easy to understand and so that God uses it to bring about life change in those who hear it.

It is my greatest joy to see God work through me to produce fruit for His glory!