By James Metsger
Do not love the world or the things in the world…And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15)
Cotton candy is fun. It’s even fun to say. Go ahead. Say it out loud. Cotton candy.
Admit it. You smiled just a little.
Cotton candy is fun to look at. It’s fluffy like a colorful cloud you carry around on a stick. Who hasn’t looked up to the sky and thought, “It sure would be nice if I could dye that cloud blue or pink, dip it in some sugar, wrap it around a stick, and eat it.”
Sure, it gets a little sticky to the touch, but no one ever said, “Man, wish I didn’t have to lick all this sugar off my face.”
Despite its allure, cotton candy is arguably the most disappointing theme park food ever invented.
Cotton candy overpromises and underdelivers. Who has ever had cotton candy and immediately thought, “Boy, am I stuffed. I couldn’t eat another bite. I’m going to put on my sweatpants.” No one in the history of humankind has ever finished their miniature happy cloud on a stick and said out loud, “That really hit the spot.”
The world is a lot like cotton candy. It’s filled with eye candy-things that look fun and appealing that, once consumed, leave you longing for more. They are simply empty calories.
John warns us against the things of the world—the desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the pride of possessions. In other words, our appetites, our affections, and our stuff. Pride, power, possessions, prestige, position… They promise to fill you with happiness and satisfaction, but they underdeliver. God promises they will pass away… kind of like cotton candy melting when it meets your tongue.
It’s sobering for me.
John isn’t suggesting that we shouldn’t have desires, longings, or affections, but he is suggesting that those things shouldn’t run contrary to Christ’s desires and longings for us. They shouldn’t fall in line with the world’s system that defines success in life as upward mobility, cozy affluence, outward beauty, and temporary joy.
These are not from God, but the world.
So do not love the world or things of the world. Instead, consider a more satisfying alternative.
Reflect: What are the pursuits in life that promise to satisfy? How have you pursued them? What have been the results?