“For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). The litmus test for Christian conduct could not be more plainly stated. There are no sins that escape at least one of these categories and most fit into more than one. The connection alone should help define their displeasure with God: “in the world.”
We are a special people, we Christians (1 Peter 2:9). Called non-conformists, anti-social, unusual, even odd, we do not cater to the vote of the majority on issues concerning morality or salvation (John 17:17), we do not follow the crowd to sin (1 Corinthians 15:33; cf. Exodus 23:2), we are in the world but not “of the world” (John 15:19) for Christ in us “is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Because of Christ, we have “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). Frankly, “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4); and the world is no friend.
The parameters within which a Christian will operate are clearly articulated by John. Therefore, if your words or deeds incite the lust of the flesh, you have put your body before the body of Christ. If what you say or do blurs the lust of the eyes into focus, you have taken your eyes off Christ. If your activities or speech presume a pride of life, then you are glorying in self, not Christ.
The Christian will reject the evil in these categories categorically, not romanticize or rationalize them, but recognizing them “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Instead, “reaching for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14) and we flee them, running for our eternal life (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Timothy 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 10:14).