With identity comes responsibility. A believer in Jesus Christ is a person of action not apathy. A believer in Jesus Christ walks as Jesus did (1 John 2:6).
We forget what we are supposed to do sometimes. The sickest thing in this world is a person who claims to be a believer in Jesus Christ and who acts in a way that disagrees with their identity as a Christian. A believer who fails to do the will of God inevitably hurts other people, destroys their own life, and is a terrible witness to the love and salvation that comes from God.
There is a story about an old married couple who noticed that their memory was not as good as before. They were worried that this could be dangerous, because one of them could accidentally forget to turn off the cooker and cause a fire. So, they decided to visit their doctor to get some help. Their doctor told them that perhaps they should write little notes to remind themselves. So when they got home, the wife said, "Darling, will you please go to the kitchen and get me a dish of ice cream? And why don't you write that down so you won't forget?" “Nonsense," said the husband, "I can remember a dish of ice cream!" "Well," said the wife, "I'd also like some strawberries on it. You better write that down, because I know you will forget." "Don't be silly," replied the husband. "…a dish of ice cream and some strawberries. I can remember that!" "OK, dear, but I'd like you to put some whipped cream on top. Now you'd really better write it down now. You'll forget," said the wife. "Come on, my memory's not all that bad," said the husband. "No problem, a dish of ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream." With that, the husband went into the kitchen and shut the door behind him. The wife could hear him getting out pots and pans, and making some noise inconsistent with his preparing a dish of ice cream, strawberries, and whipped cream. He came out of the kitchen about 15 minutes later. He walked over to his wife and gave her a plate of bacon and eggs. His wife took one look at the plate, then she looked up at her husband and said, "Hey, where's the toast?"
Identity Amnesia causes us to forget what we are supposed to do. We end up doing things that go against our core purpose as a follower of God. And we end up leading other people away from the original intention God had for them too. When we forget who we are, who we know, and what we have, we mess up in this world and we give people the wrong message.
Do not love the world or anything in it, John says. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. That’s a powerful statement. Some believers have taken this very seriously and have removed themselves from interaction with the world. There is a monk in the 4th century named Simeon who took this to the extreme. He climbed on top of a pillar, a large pole, and sat there for many years. People would bring him food and raise it up to him and help him go to the bathroom. Only that way, Simeon thought, could he fully devote himself to loving God and not be contaminated by the world. So he made himself untouchable, unreachable. Many Christians today form their own little separated pockets that put a wall up to the world. They resist interaction and turn inward lest they be poisoned by the evil that’s in the world. As a result, the world begins to think that Christianity is not relevant to the needs and issues that the world faces.
Is that what John is saying we should do? That because of our identity in Jesus Christ we should entrench ourselves? No! Remember who it is that we know. We know God. And God is the one who so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. God doesn’t love sin. He hates it. But he loves sinners who are in the world. He loves them so much that he would enter in to their environment and engage it in a fierce battle of life and death. He touched evil and allowed himself to be battered by it because he so loved the world. Remember, you have been forgiven of your sin by God who loves you. And be reassured that evil could not keep Jesus Christ down. And through Jesus Christ you also have overcome the evil one. So engage the world with the light and the life and the power and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. It is not wrong to love the world- the way God does.
It is wrong, however, to love the world in a way that is contradictory to who we are in Jesus Christ. John explains what he means in chatper 2 verse 16 (of 1 John). If we crave after sinful things, lust after things that catch our eye, boast about how much we have or about what we have done, we are wasting our time and damaging our witness to the world. Marriages fall apart because husbands or wives begin lusting after things they shouldn’t allow their eyes to catch hold of. Dads and moms fail their responsibility because they chase after their own dreams and boast about themselves rather than serving their kids with their lives. Relationships break down, communities fall apart, idols are worshipped and sin is rampant because people crave after things that are worthless, fleeting, temporary, falsely fulfilling and empty. All of the things of the sinful world will pass away, John says. So don’t love those things. Instead, do the will of God and live.