“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers…”
This poem by William Wordsworth speaks a godly sentiment. Wordsworth was not a Christian, and yet he had this insight into the way of the world and where it leads the human psyche. He could see the ultimate end of the capitalistic mindset and the consumerist culture. We may get many things in this life but loose our inner self and our God-given abilities.
- Matthew 6:26 NIV “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Long ago, before Wordsworth, the scripture expressed this same sentiment. Jesus said we can loose ourselves by seeking and finding the things of this life and exchanging our spiritual life in God with the trivial things that pass away. The theme is very much one or the other. We cannot have God and Mammon. If I want Jesus, then everything has to go.
We can try to play with fire. We will hold on to the bits that we know perfectly well God wants us to let go of, and try to live in holiness as well.! That is a misnomer. Holiness is God- likeness, and everything goes on the altar, no matter how “tame” we think it might be. To really want Christ-likeness, is very difficult for us and we always try to get out of some aspect of our lives that us not acceptable to God.
To give up this world is a sacrifice too far. We think if we give it up, we will loose out and be miserable. We think that God is trying to con us out of good times. Our spiritual lives are so shallow that we have little comprehension of the depths of knowing God. We still think of Him in human terms and the life of the Spirit is almost distasteful to our liking. This ought to trouble us. If We claim to belong to Christ, yet am not that in love with Him, or am not that earnest to follow Him closely, what am I?
God puts His finger on various things in our lives and we shy away. His words are all too unfamiliar and risky to my thinking, saying and doing.. and so, our powers are dimmed and laid waste. We forfeit joy, peace and love. We trade the reality of walking with Christ for fripperies!!
When we face the end, as we all must, what comforts in Christ will we have? What closeness of the Spirit of God will we be familiar with? How can we face the dark valley with only shadows? We reply that Christ will bring us safely through… will we glorify Him in that situation, or will we be almost overcome be fears?
And the here and now.. what depths of peace do we now possess? Do the events of life unsettle our faith? The scripture says, ” Do not fret, it leads only to evil..” Psalm 37:8 NIV
This suggest we should live life not worried at all! Who of us know what that is in reality?
The Lord Jesus suffered much in His time on earth, but He never let go of His trust in the Father and His faith in God’s plan for Him never wavered. His level of dissatisfaction with this earthly life was at the top of the scale, and yet His Holy life gave Him the grace and strength to go on.
The power of God was sufficient for Him and also us. Let us cultivate that mindset as we study The Word, both in text form and also in the living person of Christ.