1 John 2:16
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
In this verse, the world that is antithetical to God is unmasked. We are told that three elements constitute the ungodly world and all that are in it. A proper understanding of those three aspects of the world will prove to us why all that is in the world “is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
The first element of the world is “the lust of the flesh” (or the cravings of the carnal nature of our fallen body). God has created our body with certain desires, such as hunger, thirst, rest, sex, etc., which are not evil in themselves. It is good and necessary that we eat, drink, sleep, and beget children. Nevertheless, the world, which is under the control of the devil, urges us to satisfy those bodily desires through distorted ways which are forbidden by God. Such desires, which eliminate God’s design and purpose, lead to sinful lust. All the allurements of this world are designed to stir our fleshly desires to go against God’s specific plan and purpose.
The second element of the world is “the lust of the eyes”. The eye, being the “window” of our mind, is a reference to the sinful cravings of our corrupt intellect. Through the eye, our corrupt mind ravenously seeks satisfaction and all that would excite its pride. Through our eye, the world exerts its pressure and instigates us to follow after its pleasures and glory. Thus we engage in materialistic pursuits contrary to God’s will. This would include costly raiment and ornaments, gold and silver, diamonds and jewels, huge and splendid houses, expensive cars, gorgeous furniture and appliances, etc. The lusting of the eye also seeks to gratify the sensual appetites of our fallen body through forbidden ways (e.g. pornography).
The third element of the world is “the pride of life” (or the boasting of life’s possessions). In other words, pride of life means pride in what you possess—the things you have. Generally, man feels great when he flaunts the things he possesses. He wants others to know that he is smart, strong, wealthy and even holier than the rest. Because of the pride of life, some fall headlong into many foolish and hurtful situations.
“The lust of the flesh” and “the lust of the eyes” refer to our desires for what we don’t have; whereas “the pride of life” refers to our obsession with what we have. The world is driven by love for pleasure and pride in possessions; but God’s children must be motivated by His love for them.