Not only is there not enough room for both of them, they can’t even occupy the same heart at the same time. It’s a mutually exclusive reality. If one is present, then the other is not. And thus, it seems to me, if we’re aware of it, it is a great gauge for what’s going on inside. If the first has taken over, then we can be pretty sure the second has been squeezed out. To cultivate the second, on the other hand, is to prevent the first from moving in. Such, it would seem, is the dynamic of where God’s love lives.
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. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.
(1John 2:15-16 ESV)
We’re talking apape love here. More than just an affectionate love, it’s what is often referred to as a self-sacrificing love. The kind of love that so delights in someone, or something, that it can’t be constrained, and is willing to go to the wall for the object of its love. But, evidently, it’s not a love that can be split between the love of the world and the love of God.
To love the one, is to have no room for the other. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Mutually exclusive. Can’t have it both ways. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can.
Catering to the lust of the flesh? Submitting to satisfy those sensual bodily appetites hanging on from our old nature? Then the love of the Father is dormant.
Captivated by the lust of the eyes? Seduced to pursue fixing our gaze on debased pictures, or idol-creating prizes? Then the love of the Father has been evicted.
Compelled by the pride of life? Driven by what MacDonald calls “the unholy ambition for self-display and self-glory?” Then the love of the Father is absent.
When we find ourselves loving the world and the things of the world then it’s an indicator we have stopped abiding in the Father’s self-sacrificing love for us. The love that sent His One and only Son to pay the price for our sin. The love that adopted us, bringing us into relationship with full rights and privileges of sons and daughters of God and joint-heirs with Christ. The love that sent His Spirit to live within us so that we might ever abide with Him, setting His mark upon us as a guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it. The love that has seated us, even now, together with the risen Christ in heavenly places, and has blessed with every spiritual blessing.
Why then, when we see a love for the world emerging, would we not flee such lust and pride in order to protect the love of God within us? Why would we not so pursue the affections of heaven, that there would be no room for the world to gain any ground within our hearts?
Especially when we have been given all we need to participate in the divine nature through His promises of power. The power to refuse the lust of the flesh, and the power to win over the lust of the eyes, and the power to dethrone the god of self, graciously gifted to us. The power of the perfect life of the Son of God, His righteousness credited to us. That power actively released through the present life of the Spirit of God, given to work in us.
And through that power, God’s love lives in us. And where God’s love lives, there will be no room for the love of the world.
Such is the wonder of grace. To Him be all the glory.