Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. – 1 John 2:15-17
I was looking today at a blog post from Digital Photography School about a do it yourself neutral density filter (NDF). It was interesting to me and pointed out some benefits and drawbacks to this idea. The main benefit was the low cost of the DIY option. The article also had a link to purchase a real NDF. That got me to looking at real NDFs. Those were not low cost options. Before long I had added a NDF and a filter holder to my Amazon wish list. The things of this world can pull us in and capture our imagination and affections before you know it.
I don’t think that material things – the things of this world – are evil or to be avoided. But like money, when they take up residence in our hearts we’re headed for trouble! The things of this world have a way of getting ahold of us and forming a web of wanting that leads us away from loving the things of God. This is the danger: love of things is not compatible with love for God. It’s as simple as that.
When John tells me not to love the things of the world, then mentions some specifics: “wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important.” These things have nothing to do with the father. Loving those things isolates us from God. They take up room in our hearts which ought only to belong to God.
To some extent wanting is the great American way. We want so we work harder and try to succeed. We get and the more we get the more we want. It all goes well until we have so much that we no longer own our things, they own us. The wanting web is dangerous because it traps us in a vicious cycle of wanting, having, having to care for, wanting more, having more, and having to care more for the things we have. We become slaves to our satisfied wants.
I don’t know when or if I’ll get that NDF and holder for my camera. I actually do make use of such things in my photography hobby. But I’ll leave it on my wish list for some day when I decide that it can serve me and not make me servant to it. For I want most of all to serve God – the author and giver of life. Come, Holy Spirit, grant me a pure heart so that I may seek Jesus’ reign and rule first and most and not become tangled in a web of wanting!