The specific areas mentioned in this verse are where we must fight our battle against sin. It is not enough to say, “Don’t love the world.” It must be brought down to specifics. It must be reduced to that with which we actually come in contact. So, John adds, “all that comes from the world,” and he defines this. He gives a list of these areas and says, “These do not come from the Father but from the world.”
First, there is the attempt to satisfy the sinful nature, the fallen condition of humanity, which is present in the body. There are certain things that our body desires that are perfectly proper, God-given. God has made us, as humans, to have certain urges and hungers, and to satisfy these is not wrong. But the flesh, that sinful propensity within us, always seeks to add something, to go beyond the satisfying of God-given desires.
They long for what their sinful eyes look at. The eye symbolizes that which pleases the mind or inner life. Our minds were made by God to search and inquire, to take the great facts that revelation or nature set before us and to explore them. But there are certain limits to these—limits within nature, and there are limits within revelation. But the flesh takes this basic permission of God and pushes it beyond God's will to extremes we are forbid-den to follow.
They brag about what they have and what they do. This is the desire to awaken envy or adulation in other people. The first two divisions have to do with satisfying ourselves, not as God intended us to be satisfied, but beyond that. But they were directed toward us and only incidentally involve others. The pride of life, however, cannot exist except as it relates to others. It seeks to create a sense of envy, rivalry, and burning jealousy in the hearts of others and gives us pleasure in doing this to them. It is the desire to outshine or to outrank someone else.
“What does John say about these?” He doesn’t say, “Have nothing to do with any of this.” But what he does say is this one phrase, “Do not love these things, do not set your hearts on them, do not think of them as important. Do not give yourselves to amassing things, do not love luxury and ease, and do not strive to outshine others.” When the love of these things, the importance of them, occupies our major interest; when we find them using up most of our money; when we find them looming large in our thoughts so that we are constantly dreaming of that new something we hope to get, then we are in terrible danger. This is what John wants to make clear.