Upon giving our lives to Christ, we struggle with lesser loves. We still find within ourselves a desire for worldly pleasures. A yearning for material possessions. A longing for satisfaction apart from Christ. There’s a battle for the affections of our hearts. And if we’re not careful, we might forget our love for God altogether.
The Bible 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 the pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17 ESV).
As Matthew Henry writes, “The world draws down the heart from God; and so the more the love of the world prevails the more the love of God dwindles and decays.”
The apostle John provides three examples of that which is in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Let’s consider each of these separately for a moment.
The lust of the flesh occurs when we seek to satisfy our bodies apart from Christ. The lust of the eyes occurs when we covet the riches and treasures of this world. Lastly, the pride of life is the desire for worldly honor, applause, and praise.
The passage ends by emphasizing that “the world is passing away along with its desires….” Every vain attempt to satisfy ourselves will fade away, “but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (v. 17 ESV).
You see, there’s a battle for your love.
Consider what Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount: “‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money’” (Matt. 6:19-24 ESV).
Who or what is your greatest treasure? Who or what do you love the most? What is the greatest devotion of your heart? You can’t serve two masters.
As we eat our chocolates and smell our flowers, let us ask how we can love God better. In a world of lesser loves, it’s harder than ever to love Him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds (see Matt. 22:37).
Perhaps you realize that spending more time with God would teach you to love Him more. It might look like reading the Bible, dedicating time for prayer, or even getting involved in a local church. But none of us love God as much as we should. And all of us should come to the Lord and ask how we might love Him more.
God is worthy of our love. Not only has He created us in His image (see Gen. 1:27), but He has restored us to Himself through the death of His one and only Son on the cross (see John 3:16).
On this Valentine’s Day, let us not forget our first love. Let us not become so consumed with worldly passions and pursuits that we fail to love the Father as He deserves.
How can you love God better?