Today's thought: 1John 2:15-17, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."
When Jesus was questioned about how to sum up the law of God he did so with a single word, love. He said Matthew 22:37-40, "‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If we become polluted in our hearts by this world it will result in turning our love from loving the right things—God and people—to loving the wrong things—things themselves. We end up loving things and using people. This is one of Satan's greatest ploys.
Abd Al-Rahman III was a ruler in 10th-century Spain who lived in complete luxury. Here's how he assessed his life: "I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity."
Fame, riches and pleasure beyond imagination. Doesn't that sound great? He went on to write: "I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14."
In an article in The New York Times, here's how the columnist Arthur C. Brooks assessed the life of Abd al-Rahman III:
[He] had a formula as he sleepwalked through life: Love things, use people. It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous: Love people, use things. [Arthur C. Brooks, 'Love People, Not Pleasure,' The New York Times (7-19-14)]
What is it that you love? What you love may be one of the best indicators of wether you are of God or of the world.