16 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
What are some of your favorite things that God has created? Do you have a favorite mountain, type of animal, or even person? So is verse 16 saying that all these things are somehow bad or now completely separated from God? Absolutely not! However, as we talked about yesterday, the world and the things in it are fallen. Although the world itself isn’t evil, evil has entered the world so that now everything in the world may become a source of sinful desire! John gives three examples of such desires in verse 16.
First he lists the “desire of the flesh.” God gave us many natural and physical needs, such as the desire for food when we are hungry. However, our fallen nature sometimes causes us to satisfy our fleshly desires in a way that doesn’t honor God, such as when we eat too much or eat in a way that is unhealthy. Often, these natural desires to take care of our flesh turn into unhealthy obsessions.
Secondly, John lists the desires of the eyes. Although our eyes in themselves don’t produce evil, they are now possible gateways for sinful thoughts and desires to enter into our mind and keep growing and growing.
Lastly, John warns against the “pride of life.” Another way to describe this is the pride of our possessions. When we are well provided for on this earth, it may become easy to be overconfident in our ability to provide for ourselves, and then begin to forget that all good things we have come from God.
And so these are some examples of desires from this world that can never fully satisfy us but leave us wanting more and more. However, instead of attempting to fulfil our desires in the world, Christians grow to realize that our only satisfaction can come from dependence on God, not things of this world.
Questions for reflection and discussion
1. What are the three kinds of temptations John warns about?
2. Does your satisfaction come from God?
Dear God, please be with us as we live in a world filled with the good things you made. Help us to remember that all good things are from you, and resist sinful desires. Amen.