In this world there are countless people and social media messages that constantly encourage: “You can do it; God is with you. Follow your dreams; they are from God!” And they are right! Daily, I would seek this encouragement to medicate and treat the doubt I was facing. This may be the case with you as well. But if the challenge is rooted in divided loyalty, it cannot be fixed with constant encouragement. The problem that first brought the division is what must be fixed – the love of the world. Once the problem is dealt with, it will be possible to stand firm, believe God, and accomplish God-given dreams and assignments.
What is the Love of the World? God defines the love of the world in 1 John, along with a caution for His children:
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 only 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, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.— 1 John 2:15–17, NLT
The love of the world is associated with an antichrist spirit or mindset. The term “anti” in the Greek (Strong’s G473) can mean both “against” and “in place of.” An antichrist spirit is opposite to Christ. It is self-seeking. When Satan wanted to usurp God’s throne, he did so out of selfish motive and ambition. Jesus defined the greatest love as a person’s willingness to lay down his or her life for a friend. This is not the “gimme-gimme” attitude of Satan. Satan looked at what he could take, while Jesus looked for what He could give and how He could serve.
Jesus did not look out for His own interests. He looked out for ours. He gave up His position and the pride of life to become a humble and obedient servant. No wonder God says that friendship with the world—the spirit of antichrist—is enmity with God, and that whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:4). It’s because the heart behind it is so opposite to God’s. What fellowship has light with darkness? None at all.
Satan tried this on both Eve and Jesus with different results. Remember that if Satan can divide your heart, then he can divide your faith and faith is needed to fulfill your destiny. He doesn’t need a huge part of your heart, just a little of your loyalty, longing and devotion. There’s lots of fruit on a fruit tree, but he only had to get Eve to take a single bite of one puny little apple. The harm is not in the size of the fruit or sin, it’s in the luring away from God by temptation. He tempted Eve to pursue her own sense of godhead and to be like God. Satan deceived her and she was led astray from her simple devotion to the Lord to a “gimme-gimme” mindset:
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.— 2 Corinthians 11:3, NIV
Eve was tempted in three ways. This temptation lured her away from loyalty to God to loyalty to herself. This is an antichrist mindset—Eve put things in God’s place within her heart. These methods of temptation are at work today and are the same temptations Jesus had to overcome. The website gotquestions.org succinctly explains:
Eve was tempted by the serpent to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve perceived that the fruit was “good for food,” “pleasing to the eye,” and “desirable for gaining wisdom” (Gen. 3:6). She coveted the fruit in three ways. First, it was appealing to her appetite. John refers to this as the “lust of the flesh,” the desire for that which satisfies any of the physical needs. The fruit was also pleasing or delightful to the eye, that which we see and desire to own or possess. Here is the “lust of the eyes” John refers to. Finally, Eve somehow perceived that the fruit would make her wise, giving her a wisdom beyond her own. Part of Satan’s lie was that eating the fruit would make her “like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5).
Satan tempted Jesus with the lust of the flesh, bread for His hunger (Matt. 4:2–3), the lust of the eyes, “all the kingdoms of the world with their splendor” (Matt. 4:8–9), and the pride of life, daring Him to cast Himself from the roof of the Temple in order to prove that He was the Messiah by an ostentatious display of power that was not in the will of God or His plan for the redemption of mankind (Matt. 4:5–6). But Jesus, though He was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Heb. 4:15), resisted the devil and used the Word of God to ensure victory over him.
Christians have always been, and will always be, lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because they continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh—sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the “deeds of the flesh” about which Paul warned the Galatians, “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Gal. 5:19–21).
|1 John 2:16||Genesis 3||Matthew 4|
|“lust of the flesh”||“good for food”(v6)||“Command these stones to become bread” (v3)|
|“lust of the eyes”||“pleasing to the eye”(v6)||“showed him all the kingdoms”(v8)|
|“The pride of life”||“desirable for wisdom” (v6)||“throw yourself down” (v6)|
Faith comes by hearing God. This love of the world opposes the love of God; like a nattering mistress, it can drown out God’s voice, lure you away from fidelity to your God who gives you the faith in the first place, and cause you to become calloused to your first love: Jesus Christ. Just as a mistress hardens a man’s heart toward his wife and prevents him from fulfilling his marital commitment, so sin hardens our heart toward God, making it difficult for us to finish our commitment to Him.
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.— Hebrews 12:1, NIV
This hardening or resistance can lead to rebellion that will hinder you from being obedient to God. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way:
You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.— Hebrews 3:13, 18–19, NLT
But God is committed to you, and as you commit to Him, cast off the sin that entangles, you will finish the wonderful race marked out for you-your destiny. Obedience keeps our hearts undivided and soft, beating in time with God’s heart. It enables you to fully access the incredible deposit of faith God has given you to live out your assignments—and to receive the blessings He is waiting to pour out.
Reflect with the Holy Spirit
- Lord, am I trying to medicate doubt with constant encouragement?
- Lord, where is my heart obedient and soft to You?
- Tell me more about the race You have marked out for me.
- Am I willing to cut off any second head/ mistress wooing my away heart from You? Even if it has had some benefits for a season? Your word says You work in us the will to do and to act according to Your good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). I give you permission to work and put into me the will to do and act!
- Lord Jesus, will you help me forgo all the benefits a mistress can bring and return to my pure and simple devotion to You, my First Love? Assure me and give me a confirmation of Your pleasure to do this in my life.
Next week, I will share the prophetic dream God used to launch a new life into single-mindedness. I think my fabulous auntie will be awfully surprised to see herself in next weeks blog…. shhhh! She’s also in the BOOK! I’ll give you a hint, it involves a sword and a wee bit of BLOOD! OK, a lot of blood! But that’s wild, wonderful victory for ya. It’s always on the other side of the battle. See ya next week!
This teaching devotional is part of a series based on Tyrelle Smith’s book: From Double-Minded To Destiny. Each week we will publish more on how you can remove doubts and insecurities and fulfill God’s plan for your life in a greater way.
 GotQuestions.org. N.p., 26 May 2017. Web. 30 May 2017.