Rejecting the World
“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
The world is opposed to everything God stands for.
Loving the world begins with thinking that God doesn’t know what’s best for you and is trying to cheat you out of something you deserve. That thought soon blossoms into a willingness to disregard God’s warnings altogether and take whatever Satan has to offer.
Love of the world started in the Garden of Eden and continues to this day. Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” What made them think the fruit was good for food or able to make them wise? God didn’t tell them that. In fact, He warned them that they would die if they ate the fruit (Gen. 2:17). But Eve believed the serpent’s lie and Adam followed suit.
Satan continues to propagate his lies but you needn’t fall prey to them if you love God and remember that the world is opposed to everything He stands for. It is spiritually dead; void of the Spirit (John 14:17); morally defiled; and dominated by pride, greed, and evil desires. It produces wrong opinions, selfish aims, sinful pleasures, demoralizing influences, corrupt politics, empty honors, and fickle love.
You can’t love the world and God at the same time because love knows no rivals. It gives its object first place. If you love God, He will have first place in your life. If you love the world, the love of the Father isn’t in you (1 John 2:15).
Galatians 1:3-5 explains that Jesus says that “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore.” Christ died to deliver us from Satan’s evil system. What greater motivation could there be to reject the world and live to God’s glory?
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask God for greater wisdom and grace to resist the world’s influences.
For Further Study
According to Ephesians 6:10-18, how can you as a believer protect yourself against Satan’s evil system?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

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The Love God Hates
“Do not love the world, nor 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 lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
If you love the world, you’re engaging in a love God hates.
Satan, from the very beginning of his rebellious activities, has been developing an invisible spiritual system of evil designed to oppose God and enslave people to sin. The apostle John identified that system as “the world,” and warned us not to love it.
Satan has had many centuries to develop his evil system, so it is very effective on those who reject Christ. First John 5:19 explains that while we as Christians belong to God, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one,” whom Jesus called, “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). In John 8:44 He identified certain unbelievers as children of their father, the devil, who is a murderer and the father of lies. That’s how completely unbelievers are identified with Satan.
As a believer, you are identified with God. You have been delivered out of the domain of darkness and placed into the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13). You are from God and have overcome the evil one because the Holy Spirit who indwells you is greater than he who controls the world (1 John 4:4).
Sadly, Christians sometimes flirt with the very things they’ve been saved from. Don’t do that. Satan and his system have nothing to offer you. They are doomed! First John 2:17 says, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”
Suggestions for Prayer
If you’ve been flirting with the world, ask God’s forgiveness.

Praise God that someday Satan and his evil system will be vanquished.

For Further Study
Read the epistle of 1 John, noting the contrasts between the children of God and the children of Satan.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

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Seven Things God Hates
“There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers” (Prov. 6:16-19).
God is clear about the things that displease Him.
God hates sin in any form, but Proverbs 6:17-19 lists seven that are especially loathsome to Him. First is haughty eyes (v. 17), which pictures a proud and arrogant person with his nose in the air and his eyes uplifted. The pride in his heart is reflected in his mannerisms.
Pride is perhaps listed first because it is at the heart of all rebellion against God—beginning with Lucifer himself, who cried out against God, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13-14).
God also hates a lying tongue (v. 17). Men often toy with truth, denying or distorting it to gain some supposed advantage. But God can’t tolerate deception of any kind. He expects us to live according to His truth.
Third, He hates murderous hands (v. 17). That speaks of people whose hatred and greed are so strong they will kill rather than be denied what they want. God created life and established its sanctity. That’s why He ordained that murderers be put to death (Gen. 9:6).
God also hates a wicked heart and malevolent feet (v. 18). Sometimes people fall into sin inadvertently. But these people carefully plot their sinful activities, then hurry to execute their plans.
Finally, God hates a false witness and a divisive spirit (v. 19). Bearing false witness is telling lies about an innocent party. That can obstruct justice, destroy a reputation, and even destroy a life. A divisive spirit is one who creates divisions where there should be unity.
Those sins characterize unbelievers, but Christians aren’t immune from them. So be on guard not to stray into attitudes and actions that God hates.
Suggestions for Prayer
If you are practicing any of those things, confess it and repent.
For Further Study
According to Philippians 2:1-5, how should Christians treat one another?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

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Holy Hatred
“Hate evil, you who love the Lord” (Ps. 97:10).
God’s hatred for evil is an extension of His love.
After spending this month exploring fifteen characteristics of godly love, it might seem odd to shift suddenly to the topic of hatred. Additionally, “holy hatred” will sound like a contradiction in terms to those who view all hatred as evil. But love and hate are inseparable. You can’t truly love something and be complacent about the things that oppose or threaten it.
If you love your spouse, you hate anything that would defile or injure him or her. If you love your children, you hate anything that would harm them. If you love good, you hate evil. If you love unity, you hate discord. If you love God, you hate Satan. That’s why Scripture says, “Hate evil, you who love the Lord” (Ps. 97:10) and, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way, and the perverted mouth, I [God personified] hate” (Prov. 8:13).
Unquestionably God is a God of love. First John 4 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and every one who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. . . . And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (vv. 7-8, 11, 16).
How are we to respond to that love? The psalmist wrote, “From Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. . . . I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Thy law. . . . I esteem right all Thy precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way. . . . I hate and despise falsehood, but I love Thy law” (Ps. 119:104, 113, 128, 163).
Is that your prayer? Do you hate the things that oppose God? Are you offended by what offends Him? Remember, holy hatred is as much a part of godly love as any of its other characteristics. If you love God, you must necessarily hate evil.
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask God to increase your love for Him and your hatred for evil.
For Further Study
Meditate on Psalm 119:101-104 and commit it to memory.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

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The Triumph of Love
“[Love] endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).
Love triumphs over opposition.
Endurance is the final characteristic of love that Paul mentions in this passage. The Greek word translated “endures” in verse 7 is a military term that speaks of being positioned in the middle of a violent battle. It refers not to withstanding minor annoyances, but incredible opposition. Love does that without ceasing to love.
Stephen is a good example of enduring love. He preached God’s message without compromise, but his enemies stoned him to death. His last act was to fall on his knees, crying out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:59). A lesser man might have hated his tormentors, but not Stephen. He forgave them and beseeched God to do likewise, following the example of his Lord, who on the cross prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). That’s the endurance of godly love.
Love bears all hurts, sins, and disappointments. It never broadcasts them but makes every attempt to reconcile and restore sinners. Love believes the best about others and is never cynical or suspicious. Even when it’s under severe attack, it forgives and clings to the hope of God’s power and promises. That kind of love should characterize every believer.
Your love may not be perfect, but it should be obvious. If you’re struggling with implementing love in some area of your life, remember these five keys:
Acknowledge that love is a command (Rom. 13:8-10).

Agree that you have the spiritual resources to love others as God loves you (Rom. 5:5).

Understand that loving others is normal Christian behavior (1 John 4:7-10).

Realize that love is the Spirit’s work (Gal. 5:22).

Be fervent in your love for others (1 Pet. 1:22; 4:8).

Godly love should be your highest purpose and greatest joy (Matt. 22:36-40). As you love others, you glorify Christ and make Him known to the world.
Suggestions for Prayer
Review the fifteen characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, asking God to increase each of them in your life.
For Further Study
Reread each reference in the five keys for implementing love in your life, and commit at least one to memory.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

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Hoping in God
“[Love] hopes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).
Love refuses to take human failure as final.
Even when faith falters, hope comes to the rescue. It is that long rope that keeps us linked to the sovereignty and power of God.
The apostle Peter wrote to believers who were experiencing severe trials. To encourage them he began, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).
Our hope is a living hope because our God is a living God. No matter how bleak your situation might seem, God is at work to accomplish His purposes. As Christ hung on the cross, it seemed as if sin had finally triumphed over righteousness. But sin’s finest hour became its death knell when Christ arose from the grave as Lord of life and Redeemer of His people. Now “He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal [body] through His Spirit who indwells you” (Rom. 8:11). Trials and death have no power over you. They simply bring you closer to Christ.
When ministering to others, hope gives you confidence that as long as there is life, human failure is never final. God refused to accept Israel’s failures; Jesus refused to accept Peter’s; and Paul refused to accept that of the Corinthians. When your attempts to cover the sins of others have failed or your righteous expectations have been shattered, hope says, “Don’t give up. God can still work this out for good.”
Hope is illustrated in the true story of a dog who was abandoned at the airport of a large city. He stayed there for over five years, waiting for his master to return. People at the airport fed and cared for him, but he refused to leave the spot where he last saw his master. If a dog’s love for his master can produce that kind of hope, how much more should your love for God produce abiding hope?
Suggestions for Prayer
Praise God for His sovereignty and power, and for the hope that is yours in Christ.
For Further Study
Read Psalm 42, noting how the psalmist related the distressing circumstances of his life to his hope in God.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

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Expecting the Best
“[Love] believes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).
Love always expects the best of others.
In Luke 15 Jesus tells a parable about a father who had two sons. The younger son asked for his share of the family inheritance, then left home and squandered it on sinful pursuits. When he realized his folly, he decided to return home and ask his father’s forgiveness. So “he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and be merry'” (vv. 20-23).
That’s a beautiful illustration of love’s eagerness to forgive, but it also implies another characteristic of love. While the son was still far away, the father saw him coming. How could that be? Because he was watching for his son— anticipating and longing for his return. Love forgives when wrongs are committed against it, but it also expects the best of others. That’s what it means to believe all things (1 Cor. 13:7). That son had hurt his father deeply, but his father never lost hope that his son would return.
I know a Christian woman who has been married to an unbelieving husband for thirty years. Yet she continues to say, “He will come to Christ someday.” She isn’t blind to the situation, but her love for her husband has transformed her earnest desire into an expectation. She believes he will turn to Christ because love always expects the best.
Perhaps you have a spouse or child who is an unbeliever or has drifted away from the Lord. Don’t lose heart! Expect the best and let that expectation motivate you to pray more fervently and set a godly example for your loved ones to follow.
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask God to guard your heart from cynical and suspicious attitudes toward others.
For Further Study
Read Matthew 9:1-13, noting the attitudes of the Jewish scribes and Pharisees toward Jesus.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

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