John tells us in his first letter that anyone who loves the world is a stranger to the Father’s love. We are not to set our hearts on the world or anything in it. These words have been interpreted in many strange ways by different varieties of Christians, and I have puzzled much over them. The word used in the original is cosmos, which means the whole created order. Is there nothing here that I am allowed to love? What about the thundering, flashing sea that I see from my window? What about the rose on my desk, or even this house where I live with its warmth and pleasantness, the cup of tea in mid-afternoon, the books on my shelves? They are not going to last forever. If I love them, am I then a stranger to my heavenly Father’s love?
It has helped me to think of John’s words in this manner: To love the world in the wrong way is to love it without knowing the Father’s love. It is when a man knows Him and receives everything from his hand that the world is redeemed for him, no longer a snare and in opposition to the love of God. We must love the world only through and because of the Father, not instead of. Our ultimate concern must be God Himself. He is eternal. His gifts are not always so.
Lord, may no gift of yours ever take your place in my heart. Help me to hold them lightly in an open palm, that the supreme object of my desire may always be You and You alone. Purify my heart–I want to love You purely.