“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 desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
It is important to take inventory of and adjust our priorities every once in a while. As a teenager, this takes an effort to sit down and really think about where you spend your time, your mental energy, your money.
What are your priorities? What is the most important thing in your life? What is the most important relationship you have? Where do you spend most of your time? Iphone? TV? Facebook? Instagram? Friends? Shopping? Gaming? These things are not bad, but they can easily become distractions, keeping our attention or filling our mind with unnecessary pressures to keep up with others. This sets us up to fail by having impossible standards for ourselves and finding happiness in things of this world.
As Christians, the truth is that our salvation and identity are not “up for grabs,” and we do not have to perform or become something else in order to receive that significance.
The verse above explains that a complete focus on the things of the world – money, power, material possessions, looks, etc. – compete with one’s ability to focus on God. When we are obsessed with things other than God and doing His will, we place our trust in temporary things that give us immediate gratification. We put our hopes and trust into something that will eventually end or not fulfill us.
The verse explains that the world and its desires are fleeting. Even though having material things or feeling included in social circles does boost our confidence for a little while, this pattern only creates a need for more. This system asks us to abandon long-term security and faith in order to have something that looks good for this moment.
These temporary securities fade, but focusing on God creates a safe place for us to place our security. Because of this truth, we realize that the things of this world, especially media, are not based on truth. It is a manipulative source of information that preys on our weaknesses and desires to feel loved and accepted. The media tends to judge our bodies, minds, and priorities, and we need to give ourselves permission to let go of the impossible standards that our world puts on a pedestal.
We must prioritize our goals in life so that we can make a difference in the lives of others and allow God to make a lasting difference in our lives.
Take away: Consider “unplugging” for a day – no TV, no phone, no Internet. Go outside and take a walk. Enjoy spending time with a parent, sibling, or friend. Talk, laugh, dream…create something!