15 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. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
In a moment of honesty, I have to tell you something. There are times in my Christian life when I am overcome by my love and passion for God and I cannot get enough of Him. At other times, it seems that I am not really sure what I am doing in my relationship with God. The short description of these moments is that I get “distracted”. By what though? Our spiritual lives would be much easier if they were constant and unchanging but the truth of the matter is that we often can get distracted. Its all the other things in our life that come from living in this world that likes to think that it has so much to offer. We can easily get distracted by so many things in this world, and they can sap away our love for God until we wake up one day and our spiritual lives seem like they have disappeared on us. John is saying here that we are not meant to be multitaskers in our love lives. We are designed to love God, or we are distracted to love the world. There are no two ways about it. John says that the love of the world is just as exclusive in our hearts as the love of God should be. We are ultimately designed to only pursue one thing and these two are in opposite directions.
This truth is easy to grasp. We all know that what the world values is drastically different than what God values. We could sit and talk about this, but there remains a difficult truth for us to wrestle with that few Christians want to really talk about. What do we do when we have been distracted by the world to the point that we don’t know where to start with loving God, or worse yet, we don’t really feel like pursuing God in our spiritual lives? Nobody likes to admit that we can really lose our spiritual drive after letting ourselves get so distracted by life. John understands this feeling can happen in the Christian life. And so he tells us something that will help us in our pursuit of the love for God that we should have. He writes, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” Loving God means that we pursue God’s will for our lives. We do what God wants us to do with our lives. We spend our time the way God would have us spend our time. We value what He values. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote,
"Do not waste your time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."
Lewis is speaking of loving neighbors, but the same is true of loving God. If we have become so distracted by our love for the world that we have lost our passion for God, what we need to do is act as if we are passionate about God. Or as John says, continue in doing the will of God in your life. It is where we put our time, our effort, and our energy that we develop passions in our lives as human beings. Passion and desirous pursuit don’t simply happen. They are developed. If you have lost your passion for God, pursue God as if He is the thing that you value the most. After some time, you will find that He has again become the thing that you value the most. Love is not a microwave. It is a crockpot. It was never meant to instantly show up. Love is developed with time, energy, effort, and it creates passion. Don’t waste time sitting around waiting for your passion for God to show up. Act as if you are passionate for God, and you will find the long lost love for which you were created once more.