“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.” (1 John 2:16)
The pride of life.
What’s so wrong about being proud of life? It feels great to be proud of life. The New Living Translation gives it as,
“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.” (1 John 2:16). Having a craving for something is not the same as having that very thing. The world only offers a craving, like a statement that says, “You could win one million dollars”. You could, not you can.
By the way, don’t you just feel relieved when you’ve achieved something? Like finishing up a degree? Getting a promotion at work? Buying a new house? or a new car?
I have felt such reliefs myself. And it’s not that God doesn’t want me to feel relieved. But he wants me to be truly relieved. God does not want me to be temporarily relieved, but infinitely relieved.
I had a big graduation party when I left college. But it took about 9 months before I was hired in a position that made some use of my college education and work skills. A new house is glorious until things start falling apart. A new car is glorious until it starts needing repairs.
I know many Christian friends who would argue that there’s nothing wrong with seeking physical pleasure, or working hard to get everything we see, or feeling very proud to see the fruit of our efforts. And I would almost agree with that. After all, it seems definitely better than selling illegal drugs or being lazy. There seems to be nothing wrong with it, until we realize that these things we call “good” don’t last long. Others would argue, “who cares that they don’t last long? At least we get to experience them. And it feels good to experience them even for a moment”. And I’d say, “God cares.” The world does not and cannot care for you as God cares for you.
I work in Information Technology. I have a general idea of which technology would last longer than another and why. Some computers are cheap in their, but have had very little attention in their making. Same with cellphones, tablets and TVs. Others are very expensive but still have had very little attention in their making. If you consider certain factors, and maybe some historical data, maybe you can develop a trend as to which maker cannot afford to put out a bad or cheap product because that would put its reputation at risk. Bad reputation usually translates to capital loss for a maker.
But God knows that no matter how hard we work to make something good, no matter how hard we work to make it last long, there will always be a limit to what we can achieve. Although we want it to be invincible, that is not within our capacity.
The reason John says not to be content with those things is because they’re not from God who gives every good gift. Instead, they’re from the world who has no capacity of its own to do any good. The only capacity the world has at its disposal is deception. The deception is simply to believe that we can reap good from bad. Many examples can be given here, but for how long will those “goods” continue to be good?
So if the world disappoints you, don’t blame the world. It may be that you had forgotten what Christ said about the world:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Storing up treasures in heaven is none other than being content with the spiritual blessing that God has freely given to us. The Holy Spirit helps us with doing that by reminding us of Jesus daily.