Have you ever noticed that some dreams or goals, no matter how worthy, wonderful or desirable they would be, when they are seriously mentioned or called for, most people ignore them and act as if it wasn't said? Or worse, they only acknowledge it was said in order to mock the idea as being "too idealistic" or "impossible to achieve". You've heard these kinds of things, haven't you?
We tease Miss America for saying that if crowned she will work for "world peace" (what can she do?). We shake our heads in disgust at politicians who promise "no more taxes" (then who will pay?). While we think it quaint that Hollywood actors or rock stars gather to make a public service announcement for the dream of "no more hunger", we don't dwell or act on it as if it were something that we think can ever be done.
I see this same sort of disbelieving, disgruntled, confused reaction when we arrive to the first explicit directive of 1 John, when he says, "do not love the world or anything in it." (2:15)
What? How in the world (pun intended) do you do that?
However you do it, John seriously thinks it can be done. For him, anyone who loves the world does not have the love of the Father in him.
It is important to understand that since the love of the Father clearly includes "the world" (John 3:16), he is not demanding pious retreat from everyday life. Jesus speaks in John 17 of his disciples being in the world but not of it. Paul tells the Corinthians to be people who "use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them." (1 Cor 7:31)
As for John, he knows that the world is the stage within which God delivers salvation, and it holds the precious children (us) that he loves. And in that way, we are to love the world. But John also knows the world in another, anti-Christ sense.
And it is that world and everything in it that we are not to love. And far too often... we do. Today, one of our good shepherd's, Greg Ogburn, explores these dramatic statements from 1 John.