The besetting sin of Christians

(Gardiner Spring, "The Mission of Sorrow")

"Do not love the world or anything in the world."
    1 John 2:15-16

It is not only true that the love of the world
is the ruin of worldly men—it is the besetting
sin of Christians

The lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eye,
and the pride of life,
in some of their insinuating and multifaceted
forms, are evermore ensnaring them. The best
of men love the world far more than they ought.
Nor are they always sensible of its depressing
and secularizing power. The love of the world . . .
  eclipses their faith,
  limits and obscures their spiritual vision.
  allures their affections from God,
  confuses their contemplations of the realities of eternity,
  and is frequently so entwined about their heartstrings, that
  they, for a time, appear in no way different from other men.

God loves His people too well to allow them to
rest undisturbed in their idolatrous attachments.

He has a cure for their spiritual declension and their
outward backsliding. He casts them into the furnace.
He purifies them as silver is purified. If the dross is
massive and unyielding, He heats the furnace seven
times more than it is used to be heated, until the
mass melts away and is consumed.

When He does this, and they endure the trial,
they come forth like gold seven times purified.
They return to Him from whom they have revolted;
their graces are stronger and brighter—and shine
in all the beauties of holiness.

Better, unspeakably better is it to enjoy the Divine
presence and the light of His countenance, without
our idols—than to have our idols without His favor.

Oh, what wanderers would we be, if God did not
sometimes hedge up our way with thorns! Surely
it is not for lack of love to His people that He
severely chastises them.

"The dearest idol I have known,
 Whatever that idol be,
 Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
 And worship only Thee."