“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)
The Lord wants us our affection, which is really the least we can give Him after the great mercies He showed us in saving us from our sin and all further blessings He bestows upon us afterwards. But sometimes we can be tempted to love the gifts more than the one who gave them, the gifts that we can see and touch and have assurance of on this earth during this life. When you love the world, it causes forsaking of the love of God. Demus forsook Paul, “having loved this present world.” You cannot love the world and God at the same time. It is impossible.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (1 John 2:16, 17)
It can be hard to love things that you can’t see. The carnal mind loves carnal things; it cannot appreciate spiritual things and finds no use for them. It cannot even understand them or know them. But the carnal mind and carnal things (camp carnality) will ultimately get the short end of the stick. The earth and everything in it will be destroyed by God one day, but perhaps sooner than that will come physical death – a separation from the physical no man can fight. It has been said that a hertz never pulls a U-haul after it. Though these earthly things can be seen and enjoyed in the here and now, they will not follow us in the life to come and have no eternal value. Money, possessions, land and house will all vanish away. Even in this life those things can be taken. And then where will your heart be when all the things you love are gone? It is very hurtful and injurious spiritually to love earthly things, because not only do they distract you from loving God, they will leave you crushed if they are taken away – or you are taken away from them.
Not only is it impractical and vain to set our affections on the things of this world, it is grieving and even angering to God. He is a jealous God. He wants us to love Him with EVERYTHING, heart, soul, mind, and strength. Anything that comes between Him and us or detracts from our love towards Him becomes an idol. He does not want you to love Him 50% and something else the other 50%, or even 80/20. God wants 100%.
If we truly and totally love God, anything else that we may love we will only love because we love God. Our love toward anyone or anything else will only be an outflow of our love for God.
Is it wrong to love someone else? Is it wrong to love your housework or cooking or gardening? No, but your love for whatever that something else is should spring out of your love for God and ultimately be a part of it. God also charges us to love thy neighbor as thyself and be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love (Romans 12:10). We as ladies are told to love our husbands and our children in the Scriptures; even our enemy also. We are to love the law of the Lord, which is His Word (Psalm 119:165) and the things of it like truth and mercy and righteousness. We are told to love godly wisdom. (Proverbs 4:6). In the end times, the love of things that are good and right will wax cold (Matthew 24:12). We are to be rooted and grounded in love, the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:17). The love of God is the keeping of his commandments (1 John 5:3).
Are there Things We Should Not Love?
There are some things specifically we are told not to love. Love not sleep (Proverbs 20:13). Riches are not for us to set our heart on. We are not to love other gods (Jeremiah 8:1). It is also not good to love to wander (Jeremiah 14:10). Food or wine is another thing that is called out as associated with love in a negative way (Hosea 3:1). A false oath (Zechariah 8:17). The Pharisees were rebuked of Jesus for loving positions of preeminence among others and being esteemed of men for their piety (Matthew 23:6). Men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19). The chief rulers did not confess Christ because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43). The love of money is the root of all evil. Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness and it was iniquity (2 Peter 2:16). The saints of God loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11).
Not all of these things we are told not to love are evil in and of themselves. It is not even wrong to take a measure of enjoyment from the blessings of God like good food (Ecclesiastes 3:13). God gives us good gifts as his children that He wants us to be thankful for. But these things should only serve to give us more reasons to bless Him for His goodness, never to turn our hearts to the gifts themselves. We are not to love them, not for a moment. Never once in the King James Bible are we told to love physical things and that is no accident. They should not give us deep satisfaction like God does.
Peter is an example of a disciple who was caught between loving his job or loving Jesus. He denied the Lord. Finally Jesus asked him three times if He loved him and commanded Him to do the work of the kingdom if he did.
The following parable in the book of Ezekiel is about a woman (a figure of the forgiven sinner) who turn her heart after the blessings that God bestowed on her and forgot the one who gave them – and then ultimately turned aside after sin and wrong things. Beware of loving things that are not wrong, though they be not sin to start with, but they will be if you ultimately sin because you took your heart and mind off Christ for those harmless other things.
“And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare. Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered int a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine. Then I washed thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God. But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so. Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them, And tookest thy broidered garments, and coeredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them. My meat also which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast even set it before them for a sweet savour: and thus it was, saith the Lord God. Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood.
Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way. (16:27)
How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman; (30)
Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness. And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will gie thee blood in fury and jealousy. And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare. (37-39)
God will judge such an one, for He is jealous:
And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more. So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry. Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these things; behold, therefore I also will recompense thy way upon thine head, saith the Lord GOD: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations. (41 – 43)