Question from a reader:
I’ve been praying about the reason why I am spreading the gospel usually through online: so I can store up treasure in Heaven and Lord willing, one day be a ruler in God’s Kingdom. Is that the right motivation? Would I suffer loss of rewards? I’m struggling to understand 1 John 2:15, which says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” So am I being worldly if I want those things in the kingdom of Heaven?
Answer from Doreen Button, EPM staff:
It’s good to keep in mind your motivation for doing your Kingdom work. God humbles the proud because we have nothing to be proud of apart from the work He’s doing in us. If your sole motivation is rewards in Heaven, as opposed to reflecting God’s love through you to others, I think you should talk that over with your Father and ask His Spirit to give you the desires He wants you to have. He made rewards for us, to help motivate us to anticipate Heaven. He would not have created rewards if they were wrong. However, He did not create them to take His place in our hearts. If you love anything more than you love Jesus, what you love is an idol. And since idol worship is sin, repentance would be required. To repent means to replace the way you were thinking with thinking right thoughts about God and turning from wrong thoughts.
To understand 1 John 2:15, it’s important to read all the verses before and after it. If you look to verse 16, it explains exactly what God does not want us to love: the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of life. These refer to lust and envy and putting ourselves and our desires above those of God’s. Taken with the whole of Scripture, “the world” as John is describing is not talking about the beautiful earth God created for us to steward and enjoy. It’s talking about the kinds of things that we gained the knowledge of when we ate the forbidden fruit and decided to operate independently from God.
I have a suggestion for you to think about when these kinds of questions start circling in your mind: write them out and lay them before God, asking Him to communicate what His desires are. He wants your heart. He wants all your love. He promises that when you seek Him with a whole heart, you will find Him. So focus on that and trust Him to provide everything you need in this world and the next in order to glorify Him and serve well.
God bless you as you continue to seek Him first!For more on eternal rewards, see Randy's book The Law of Rewards.