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Holding Things Loosely

The Art of Holding Things Loosely   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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1 John 2:15–17 NLT
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 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. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
1 John 2:15–17 NLT
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 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. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
At a very early age children learn something that sticks with them for a long time. In fact, some children never seem to grow out of it. I’d go so far as to say that even those without children of their own will know what I’m talking about. It’s the concept of MINE. What’s mine is mine & what’s yours is mine. And what’s yours…I’d like for that to be mine as well! But just don’t ask me to share what’s MINE!
As we get a little older, MINE means, “I’m in control.” “This is my life.” “I’m going to do what I want to do.” “I don’t really care what’s important to you because it not as important to me as mine.”
Mine vs. Yours

“Hold everything in your hands loosely, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”

Corrie ten Boom
Charles Swindoll said...
“I'll never forget a conversation I had with the late Corrie ten Boom. She said to me, in her broken English, "Chuck, I've learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me!”
So we begin a new series this morning on Biblical Stewardship. We will be exploring what it means to Hold things loosely in our hands. I believe it’s a key difference between being an owner & a steward. Yes, part of our stewardship conversation will be about possessions, giving, finances - but our conversation will be much broader than that.
At a very early age children learn something that sticks with them for a long time. In fact, some children never seem to grow out of it.
What does this mean? What are we talking about? To answer this question we need to look at some passages of scripture...
Mine vs. Thine
How does it apply to me?
What should I expect?
Now what?

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 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. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 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. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

1. Worldly vs. Godly
What does the writer mean by “this world?”
- Don’t copy the behavior & customs of this world
- Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.
- …worldly desires that wage war against your very souls
Values & attitudes that are opposed to God
- Don’t copy the behavior & customs of this world
- Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God?
- I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do.
- No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money
Not saying we shouldn’t love the world; love one another; love those different than us - For God so loved the world; We are called to love one another, even going so far as our enemies
Not saying we shouldn’t love God’s creation - God created all that we see and said that it was good!
Not saying we shouldn’t love those different
So John defines what he’s talking about by “the world”; craving for physical pleasure (lust of the flesh), a craving for everything we see (lust of the eyes), and pride in our achievements and possessions (pride of life). The word craving or lust here carries with it a definition of a desire that has taken on too much weight, or in essence a craving that is controlling you.
There’s nothing wrong with a desire for physical pleasure. But when we take the God-created healthy desires for physical pleasures and create unhealthy, unintended obsessions, no matter the cost or collateral damage, then it becomes worldly.
Craving for physical pleasure
Craving for everything we see
Pride in our achievements & possessions
Contrast all that against
Godly - Values, customs, & attitudes
There’s a lot in this world that is good. But so often we can see something that we want, that we must have, that we will stop at nothing to get. And so we put ourselves in bad financial situations, going into debt to obtain stuff that we think will satisfy, only realizing that we want more. And so what could have been good, we turn into worldly.
- Those who love money will never have enough
Passion for
Desire for
Humility in how God has blesses us
And then there’s the pride of life - where we elevate something in our lives that we want to define us. Maybe it’s our bank account; The number of friends we have; A talent or ability; A status or a career - bottom line is that something other than God is our confidence for the future. Then it becomes worldly.
What does the writer mean by “this world?” Not the people of this world
Why is this so vitally important?
Values & attitudes that are opposed to God
The world offers - craving for physical pleasure; craving for everything we see; & pride in our achievements & possessions. These desires do not come from the Father.
The world & all its things are fading away. Anyone who DOES what pleases God will live forever.
Why is this important? Why are we talking about this?
Why is this important? Why are we talking about this?
The Bible is filled with this type of teaching; Jesus taught extensively on this stewardship idea; I believe it’s a reflection of our heart condition;
2. In fact, It’s a short distance between our treasures and heart
Matthew 6:19-21

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Your most prize possession; Your unending pursuit; Your priority, aim, focus. Where your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be...
3. Application: You fill in the blank
How does it apply to you specifically?
Student - What are your top priorities? What gets the most attention? Where are you investing your time in? What thing or things are you gripping tightly? That God may be saying, “I need you to let go of this because I have something different for you.”
Young Adult -
Middle Age -
Retirement -
Retired -
Elderly -
How should I live? Does anything in my life need to change?
4. Truly being in the world but not of the world; Being different - living different;
- I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do.
Now what?
5. Make a priority list
What takes priority in your life?
- All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.
What are the things of this world that have crowded out the things of God?
What’s something you would never give up or give away?
It may be the very thing God will require of you
Rich Young Ruler
Someone said, “God doesn’t condemn His people having earthly possessions; but He does condemn when earthly possessions have us.”
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