Thursday, August 9, 2012

Where Cravings Are Satisfied

On Thursdays I have been sharing a little bit about what I have been learning as I read through 1 John.

1 John is a letter written to the believers in Asia Minor.  John has been giving examples of what a believer who walks with God looks like.  He has been contrasting these believers with those who say that they walk with God, but whose actions and beliefs do not support their claims.  He calls these people liars and says they walk in darkness.  John wants the believers to be able to recognize the difference between that which is true and that which is false.  He pauses in this endeavor to encourage the believers he is writing to by reminding them of the joy, the power, and the faithfulness they have received from Christ.

Last week, we looked at the first of three verses about the world.  This week we look at the second.

John writes, 

“Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If you love the world, love for the Father is not in you.  For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful people, the lust of their eyes and their boasting about what they have and do—comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”  1 John 2:15-17 TNIV
It says it right in the opening words of Genesis: 

As creation unfolds, it is God who brings everything into existence. 

John knows this.  Yet, choosing his words carefully, he says, “Everything in the world comes not from the Father but from the world.” 

It makes me stop.  If everything in the world comes not from the Creator God, but from the world, what is John talking about? 

I think the key to uncovering what he is trying to say can be found in the word for “world.” Last week, we read that the Greek word kosmos has to do with “the present condition of human affairs in alienation and opposition to God” (VINES Expository Dictionary).

This human condition in opposition to God comes not from God, but from man. (The definition of kosmos in the second instance of the word “world”is slightly different).  This idea brings to mind a picture.

I imagine the command given to Adam in the Garden.  I imagine the scene where the command is broken.  It is here the present condition of the world begins.  Man is alienated from God.  Adam and Eve choose opposition to God.  Left unto myself, I choose this too, everyday.  It is my default.

At its best, “The world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions” (NLT).  At its worst, the world is full of hunger, slavery, and all kinds of brokenness—all the fruit of trying to be like God, apart from God.  Yet, even the best the world has to offer is empty, because it is never enough.  The cravings are never satisfied. 

It seems to me that nearly every American probably relate to this picture.  We are driven by cravings.  It seems to me that our economy depends on the cravings of the consumer.  Commercials tell us every day that what we have is not enough, and we believe it.  We see the newest piece of technology and we are sure that we couldn’t be content without it.  We go shopping just for fun, not because we need something.  If we are truly honest, sometimes the things we say we need are really just things we want.  We seek to get ahead in our careers—to get promoted, be in charge, to buy a bigger home, and to make more money in order to get more of something someone has convinced us we need.  We want more and more and it is never enough.

When we see the world with eyes of scarcity rather than eyes of abundance, what we have is never enough.

John says the things of the world are not from the Father. It makes me wonder, what is from the Father?  
I begin to imagine the kingdom He inhabits.  What might that be like? 

Could it be that His kingdom is a place where cravings are satisfied?  A place where there is humility in achievement?  A place where possessions aren’t a priority, because all we need is provided?  What might it be like to live in that place?

I believe such a kingdom exists. 

I believe it comes through Jesus—who showed us how to live, who humbly accomplished his work on the cross, atoning for our sins, and defeating death in His resurrection—by grace. 

I believe it involves surrendering to God's will and living in obedience.  It begins with choosing loving obedience through Christ rather than living in willful disobedience with Adam and Eve.  As we begin anew we start to discover that in Christ our cravings are satisfied; we learn to trust that His humble example is better than the world’s pride; and we see that all we need will be provided in Him.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as our eyes are opened to the scarcity of this world and the abundance of God’s kingdom.  As we seek Him may we find our cravings are satisfied, humility is indeed better than pride, and that all we need is provided as we pursue obedience to Christ.  May our eyes be open to see the grace that is poured out on us each day, so that we never cease to be amazed by the abundant goodness of God.

Jessica :)

P.S.  We will continue to look at this kingdom next week.  I believe it is closely tied to the last verse (v.17) about God's will.  I hope you will join me next week :)

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