I felt a need for something more; something more meaningful and substantive; something capable not only to oppose but also to build; something like a drop of grace poured into our daily, suffocating, bitter emptiness. For some of us, that something came to be the Holy Scripture in its quiet yet meaningful way. On a summer humid day, I had pleaded for hours with my uncle to lend me his own Bible. Still my reading has been always haunted by anxiety.
Anxiety, for the set deadline was approaching as a thief in the dead of the night, eager to take away my newly found friend. In one word, the result of such an exciting, dense time, was beyond my wildest expectations. I managed to read the whole Holy Writ, except for Leviticus and Numbers. My readings turned into interpretations consisting in colorful drawings where intrepid imagination and genuine emotions were running free.
The style of these illustrations is a sort of mixture between graphics and painting. It is a serious business. Darkness is everywhere and at all times. Why did I decide to post these illustrations? Because you have known the Father : In this first stage of spiritual growth, we sink our roots deep in the Fatherly love and care of God. We know Him as our caring Father, and see ourselves as His dependent children. Little children when they begin to talk, and go to school, how proud they are of their father! Their father is the greatest man that ever lived: there never was the like of him.
You may talk to them of great statesmen, or great warriors, or great princes, but these are all nobodies: their father fills the whole horizon of their being. Well, so it certainly is with us and our Father God. Little children : John uses different words for little children in verses 12 and 13 teknia and paidia , respectively. I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
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Because you have known Him who is from the beginning : The repetition of the same idea from 1 John a shows that it should be emphasized. The relationship with Jesus Christ that people at this stage of spiritual growth have is both true and deep.
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, could say that he counted all his previous spiritual achievements as rubbish, compared to the surpassing greatness of just knowing Jesus. That I may know Him is the powerful way Paul phrased it in Philippians I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. I have written to you, young men : Again, the repetition of the idea indicates emphasis. Not only have the young men… overcome the wicked one , but they have done it through the strength that comes to them through the word of God.
Do you consider yourself one of the young men spiritually?
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Then are you strong? Are you putting your strength to some spiritual use? Do you resent that your strength is tested and developed by God? The Word of God had made itself at home in their hearts. 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. Now John points out a specific area of sin that especially threatens our fellowship with God: worldliness, to love the world. Do not love the world or the things in the world : The world , in the sense John means it here, is not the global earth. Nor is it the mass of humanity, which God Himself loves John Instead it is the community of sinful humanity that is united in rebellion against God.
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One of the first examples of this idea of the world in the Bible helps us to understand this point. There was organized rebellion against God in disobeying the command to disperse over the whole earth.
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The whole story of the tower of Babel also shows us another fundamental fact about the world system. Because we like being better off, it is easy to fall in love with the world. Finally, the story of the tower of Babel shows us that the world system — as impressive and winning as it appears to be — will never win out over God. The Lord defeated the rebellion at the tower of Babel easily.
The world system will never win out over God. There is a secular, anti-God or ignoring-God way of doing things that characterizes human society, and it is easy to love the world in this sense. Notice what the world wants from us: love. This love is expressed in time, attention, and expense.
We are encouraged and persuaded to give our time, attention, and money to the things of this world instead of the things of God. If you love the world, there are rewards to be gained. You may find a place of prestige, of status, of honor, of comfort. The world system knows how to reward its lovers. At the same time, even at their best the rewards that come from this world last only as long as we live. The problem is that though we gain prestige, status, honor, and comfort of this world, we lose the prestige, status, honor, and comfort of heaven. Instead, it is more of a warning against loving the material things which characterize the world system.
The world buys our love with the great things it has to give us. Cars, homes, gadgets, and the status that goes with all of them, can really make our hearts at home in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him : Simply, love for the world is incompatible with love for the Father. Therefore if one claims to love God and yet loves the world, there is something wrong with his claim to love God.
Through the centuries, Christians have dealt with the magnetic pull of the world in different ways.
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At one time it was thought that if you were a really committed Christian and really wanted to love God instead of the world, you would leave human society and live as a monk or a nun out in a desolate monastery. This approach, and other approaches that seek to take us out of the world, have two problems. The first problem is that we bring the world with us into our monastery. The other problem is that Jesus intended us to be in the world but not of the world. We see this in His prayer for us in John For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
For all that is in the world : The character of the world expresses itself through the lust of the flesh , the lust of the eyes , and the pride of life. These lusts seek to draw our own flesh away into sin and worldliness. The idea behind the pride of life is someone who lives for superiority over others, mostly by impressing others through outward appearances — even if by deception. To get an idea of how the world works, think of the advertising commercials you most commonly remember. They probably make a powerful appeal to the lust of the flesh , the lust of the eyes , or to the pride of life.
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Many successful ads appeal to all three. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life : In listing these aspects of the world, John may have in mind the first pursuit of worldliness, that of Eve in the Garden of Eden Genesis Of Eve in the Garden of Eden, it is said that she took of the forbidden fruit when she saw that the tree was good for food.