“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” - 1 John 2:16,17 When the winter winds begin to howl around us we hurry inside and shut our doors in hopes of isolating ourselves from the elements. As late evening approaches we settle down by a warm fire or snuggle under our favorite blanket or quilt. It isn’t long before sleep overtakes us and we drift off to dream in the comfort of our surroundings. But all too soon we are awoken by this irritating, inconsiderate voice of the alarm clock saying, “HEY!!.....HEY!!.....HEY!!....WAKE UP...time to do all those things you don’t want to do…..and by the way….IT’S FREEZING OUT THERE!!”
It matters not whether a person is old or young, employed or retired, at some point everyone has found themselves or will find themselves out in the cold. So how do we protect ourselves? That’s not a hard question to figure out. We go and find what we need to protect our bodies from the elements; we insulate ourselves.
In the text before us the Apostle John warns of three things that we cannot isolate ourselves from, (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life), but also assuring us that God has provided the insulation for us that will absolutely shield us from those three things along with anything else the devil blows in our direction. As we give thought to the idea of isolation or insulation, let us consider how the Lord Jesus dealt with the issue.
The first thing we need to realize is that our Lord was not isolated from these three things, nor was He isolated from any other trial or temptation. The Lord did not hide when the devil showed up in the wilderness during his forty day fast, but he did insulate himself. No matter what the devil threw at Him it could not penetrate the written word of God!
The scriptures declare in John 15:20: “the servant is not greater than his lord”. We must face the enemy as well. Let us take a closer look at verse 16. “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”. It would seem as though the only way to avoid these harmful things is to hide from them. This is NOT SO! The Lord did not run for cover from the devil neither did he depend on any earthly fiber to protect him. He wrapped Himself in heavenly fabric that could not be penetrated by the devil nor any other outside force. In Romans 15:4 the Bible says: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Hallelujah for the written word of God!
In regards to us as humans, we can combine these sixteen words from verse 16, “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”, into two words: self- gratification. Even if we were to hide ourselves from the world we would still be stuck with “Me, Myself, and I”. We can isolate ourselves from the cold winds that blow by coming indoors, but we can never isolate ourselves from ourselves. The sad and sobering truth is that the world is “within” us and according to John it is not of the Father. This realization brings us to verse 17: “and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever”. In verse 16 we are confronted with the impossibility of isolating ourselves from the world outside of and within us, but in verse 17 John declares that it is possible to insulate ourselves from the world outside of and within us. The only way for us to confirm this declaration is by following the example of Christ. In fact, that is exactly what the Lord meant when He said in Matthew 28:20: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Our Lord Jesus was never girded without His insulation; neither should we be. Jesus proclaimed to the world and to the devil in John 8:29: “I do always the things that please him”.
The cold winds of adversity are capable of chilling us to the bone, “but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever”. (He) INTERNAL INSULATION that (doeth) EXTERNAL INSULATION abideth (forever) ETERNAL INSULATION. Praise His Name!!