Bonny has been teaching our daughter Saydie, who is only 2, the verse John 3:16. I'm sure we've all heard it in one form or another, but for reference here it is again.
"For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
The key phrase that is rocking my world lately is "For God so LOVED the world." Often times we may here preachers or other Christians say that we are called to be in the world but not of it. The earth is only our temporary home, not our final destination and other common catch phrases. While each of these statements is true, in the past these statements have been used to segregate Christians from the rest of the world. We've even used them to justify our actions (some good and some bad) at certain points in time. What I'm learning about more and more is that God loves the world. And if God loves the world, as His child, I need to love the world. Think back to the beginning of creation, what is the world? The world is God's craftsmanship. It's full of life. The world is nature and people...all of creation!! When God was creating the world, at each point where He created something new He looked at what He had created and said, "it was good." Now yes, all that God has created has been marred by sin, but guess what...God still LOVES the world!! If He didn't, why would He send Jesus to restore the world to its' original design and intent?
The earth is our temporary home, for sure, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take care of it (both people and nature). Imagine being without a home and having someone give you their house for you to live in. It's a temporary solution because at some point in time they will be back to see what you've done with the place. Living in this home you've got a choice, you can choose to take care of it, or you can choose to neglect it. Knowing that the home you are living in really isn't yours, wouldn't you be more intentional about the care you give to it? Imagine this generous person who gave you a home to live in coming back to see that you've absolutely trashed the place. I think our giver in this illustration would be frustrated and perhaps even hurt because the home you trashed wasn't yours to begin with. Transfer this line of thinking into your worldview. If the earth is not our permanent home, which it isn't, it still belongs to God...the earth is the Lord's and everything in it. We are stewards of the earth, of this home. Remember that God so loved the world that He first created it and even now He continues to work in and through it to bring honor and glory to Himself.
I think it's time that we fall in love with the world again. Falling in love with the world doesn't mean letting the world dictate morality, or pace for life, these things come from God and the truth of His word contained in scripture. Falling in love with the world means learning to see creation (people and nature) as God sees it and responding to what we see accordingly through obedience to our loving Heavenly Father. God LOVES the world...if God is known for His love, I think is high time we as His children are known for the same thing.