1 John 2:15-17 [Amplified Bible]:
 Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
 For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]–these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].
 And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the list) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.
Bible scholars have concluded that the content, style, and vocabulary seem to warrant the conclusion that the three letters of John, the apostle, including the Gospel of John, were addressed to the same readers–Christian believers, and John’s message is timeless!
The Timeless Message–
The “timeless message” given, is one of contrast. A COMPARISON of love for the world versus the love of our Father, that is, GOD. As surely as we cannot SERVE both GOD and MAMMON– (*See footnote [i] )– neither can we LOVE both the world and GOD.
Every Person Is Tempted (James 1:14):
We ALL BATTLE with trials and temptations on a daily basis; with the things and people who influence us for wrong reasons and the wrong purpose.
Sometimes like a “magnet”, the world tries to pull us in the wrong direction.
GOD calls His children [Christians] to live “in” this world but not be “of” this world.
A difficult balance…
ME: “Should go tonight and show up; help out at my church’s Soup Kitchen and serve. BUT…I’ll miss out on the Football Game on television during the LOVE FEAST down the road.”
WE: Go to church, spend time with GOD and friends, yet there’s a FORCE trying to pull us away from the fellowship of believers.
It’s sort of like when I was back in school and didn’t want to get out of bed. “Mom, I feel kind of ‘sick”. My mom would ask me suspiciously, “What do you mean…’kind of sick’?” She knew that I wanted to stay home and do what I wanted to do–watch TV, anything but go to school. She would then inform me, “If you’re sick Mel, then you have to stay in bed ALL day!” That stopped my plans in their tracks: “Mom, I think I’m feeling a bit better and will go to school after all.”
The Seemingly “Grey Areas”…
So many times we find ourselves tolerating certain things, but it feels good…we think it probably won’t hurt anybody…nobody will find out.
And then all of a sudden, we wake up one day and ask ourselves, “How in the world did I get here?” Or, “What did I just do?”
IDENTIFYING 3 TYPES OF TEMPTATIONS:
1 John 2:15-17 (N.L.T.):
 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
 For the world offers on a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
 And this world is fading away…
What else does the Bible have to say about the world we’re living in today?
“Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 AMP).
“We know [positively] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] is under the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19 AMP).
(Jesus talking) – “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you” (John 15:18-19 AMP).
“…Do you not know that being the worlds friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
The WORLD will always fool you and never fully satisfy you!
The New Living Translation calls it a “CRAVING” in verse 16.
3 -Types of Temptations:
I’m sure you know what it is to “crave” for something: chocolate, creamed-filled donuts, sour pickles (pregnancy?), liquor, a ‘smoke’, etc.
In any dictionary that you look up the definition, “crav-ing” – A powerful desire for something! Synonyms: longing, yearning, desire, want, wish, hankering, hunger, thirst, appetite, greed, lust, ache, need, urge.
“ENOUGH…I get it!” But let’s take the definition a little further to make a point:
Merriam-Webster: “an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing.”
I think you’ve probably got the idea of what John is referring to in the above Scripture.
In Creflo Dollar’s Book, Winning in Troubled Times (Chapter 19), he mentions “Lust is the driving impulse behind addictive behaviors; trying to break habits formed through will-power fall prey to the same temptations over and over again.”
LUST HAS ONE PURPOSE, AND ONE PURPOSE ONLY…
LUST OF THE FLESH has one purpose–to move us out of the will of God of our lives. It will destroy marriages and relationships.
DESIRE in and of itself is NOT BAD…
GOD gave us natural, healthy DESIRES…desire for food and water, desire to be unconditionally loved and accepted. But when the “craving” enters the picture….it leads to death.
“Seed Time and Harvest…”
“But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it is conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings for death” (James 1:14-15).
A CRAVING for everything we see (NLT) or Lust of the Eyes (Amplified)–
“Temptation to Have” – I see it and I want it. I have to have it now! Ever been in this state of mind?
Materialism – “Live for the acquisition of things”:
He with the most toys wins…what? Debt? Stress?
Examples: Having the latest I-Phone (5-s; the 6 will be out in Sept. 2014)….Latest Model – Car…Houses – upgrades, newer model, keep up with the Jones…Latest Styles – clothes or shoes – “Impulse Buying” (Ex: I can go to Van Wingerden Garden Center in Birch Bay, Washington…it’s like the angels are singing…).
PRIDE in our achievements and possessions (NLT) or Pride of Life (Amplified)–
“Temptation to Be” – I want to be worshipped. I want to be envied. I want to be “noticed”.
Climbing the “company ladder” – just for the “title” of President, CEO.
The MOTIVATION is wrong–want to get to the top–for the wrong reason.
STATUS can become an “IDOL”, and damage our relationship with GOD.
TEMPTATION BEGAN AT THE BEGINNING OF TIME:
** Adam and Eve **
FRUIT that was pleasing to the eye.
** Jesus **
“And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loves of] bread” (Matt. 4:3 AMP).
JESUS faced temptation (Lust of Flesh).
“Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them. And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me” (Matt. 4:8-9).
Satan showed JESUS the kingdoms (Lust of the Eyes).
Pride of Life – kneel down and worship me …
“And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever” (1 John 2:17 AMP).
So how can we CONQUER this? How can we please God?
That’s what we really want to do as BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST! To be Satisfied in Christ Alone!
Living “In Christ Alone”:
Keith and Kristyn Getty wrote a favorite hymn of mine a few years back. [www.gettymusic.com/hymns-inchristalone.aspx/.}
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song; this Cornerstone,
this SOLID GROUND,
from through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.
Conquering Our Cravings, Our Temptations, Our Lusts in Life–
HOW CAN WE PLEASE GOD?
Hopefully, as believers in JESUS, pleasing Him should be our only desire. Participating in God’s work in our lives is a beginning; to agree with God is our true identity found only in Him…not to place ourselves on the railroad tracks of “temptation.” We’ll get hit by the train comng through every time!
In Creflo Dollar’s book, Winning In Troubled Times, he entitles the chapter “Declaring War On Lust”: “The sin you fail to deal with will eventually end up dealing with you.”
When our CRAVINGS, “lustful desires“, are continually acted upon with no repentance or attempts to curb the behavior…a person can easily get into what is called “LASCIVIOUSNESS”: “having no self-control of the works of the flesh.”
Our OBEDIENCE To What We Sense Around Us…
What GOD is calling us to do in the world, should come out of a TRUST that God is our only source of life! As we struggle, and we all do struggle; we are in the world and not of the world…especially in the “grey areas” that arise (society morality, movies, doctrine, relationships).
We can place our HOPE in God; to finish His work in us; to lovingly continue to show us the emptiness of all other “sources” available in life. To learn to be SUFFICIENT in Christ alone.
Those thoughts reminded me of a quote by C.S. Lewis you may have read or heard before:
“When he said, ‘Be perfect.’ He meant it! He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder–in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird; it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining in an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad…” [Mere Christianity, bk4, Chs. 8, 9.]
I hope that I have given you an understanding of what GOD is able to give you in this world. The HOPE and RENEWED TRUST in being Sufficient In Christ Alone– and not be satisfied in what the world is offering.
“Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
[i] MAMMON – New Testament – Riches or material wealth: Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:9, 11, 13.