Actions often speak louder than words. I know a guy who says he loves his wife, but he spends more time and energy on his boat than he does with her. I guess he really loves his boat more than he does his wife . . . at least that’s the way it appears.
God wants us to love Him for who He is. He doesn’t want lip service, where we merely go to church once a week and sing “My Jesus I love Thee.” He wants us to show that we love Him by the things we do each day.
In 2 Timothy 3 the Bible warns that the last days’ culture will be hypocritical in their love for the Lord, and that will produce perilous times. Beginning in verse 1 we read, “This know, also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, lovers of [money] . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away” (KJV).
Now, did you notice that this verse says people will have a form of godliness? That means they will be religious people who say they love God, but their lifestyles will speak louder than their words. They will love themselves, their money, and their pleasures more than they love God.
The word for more than is a Greek word (mallon) meaning “more than” in the sense of “rather than.” It’s a word that denotes a contrastive comparison. And here it carries the idea of “instead of.”
People will love themselves, their money, and their pleasures—instead of loving God. A convicting verse in James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
In marital terms, the world is the “other lover.” So every time Christians have a love affair with the world, they are committing spiritual adultery. Wow! That’s pretty convicting, isn’t it? God wants us to love Him—NOT the world.
So, what is “the world?” If God is so serious about us not loving the world, then we need to know exactly who or what it is we are to cease loving.
Well, the apostle John helps us to understand the question by exposing this tawdry lover. He writes, “Love not the world . . . For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh” (pleasures), “the lust of the eyes,” (possessions), “and the pride of life” (positions), “is not of the Father, but is of the world” – 1 John 2:15-16 (KJV).
What John is saying is that the world system is actually defined by three characteristics: pleasures in which to indulge, possessions to excite our desires, and positions that define our existence. That’s it. Gaudy makeup, plastered-on lipstick and heavy mascara—that’s John’s description of the world.
So here’s the deal. If our lives are consumed with these things so that the majority of our time, energy, and resources are devoted to the pursuit of them—if these are the things we dream about when our heads hit the pillow—then we are loving the world more than we are loving God.
Think about it. From God’s perspective, the world is a spiritual prostitute—and loving the world is like cheating on our spouse. Not a good thing to do. Christ doesn’t want to play second fiddle to another lover. How much better to love the Lord with all of our hearts . . . to love God more than the world! ■