“Don’t love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him.”
1 John 2:15
This is a clear directive from the Lord. We are to live as Jesus did. We are to have no hold on this world at all. We are to be taken up with Christ and to seek Him always and to be like Him in His character and mindset.
It is very difficult to be this way- it always has been and always will be. This world militates against us; our enemy tempts us and our own sinful selves drag us away from Christ and into the arms of an unloving world. It is a mindset rather than a series of rules or behaviours. It is a spiritual trap to be avoided by those who love the Lord Jesus with an unending love.
The human heart, naturally, wants certain things out of life and is bent on getting them. This is our problem, and we do it so naturally that we cannot see the problem, which is why God spells it our for us here. We are not to love this world or its ways, or the things that it can give us, but to love our Saviour and be like Him. Naturally, the heart is selfish and conceited and wants these things and thinks it deserves these things. Others may tell us so, and compound us in our selfishness and lack of humility before the Lord. The worldliness has infiltrated everything we do and say and good counsel is almost impossible to come by.
It is too easy to dupe yourself in to thinking you need certain things to make you happy and to live in this world. We accumulate wealth and possessions and they give us a sense of security and belonging. But there is no security outside of Christ and no belonging in this world for the Christian. We do not belong, and this world will never satisfy the renewed and redeemed soul. Do we believe this, or do we search for more significance in this life? Many pierce themselves through with many sorrows because they are searching for applause and recognition and want he things that money can buy. We actually need very little and God has promised to supply our needs, yet we go about earning and fretting about what we want and strive to have. It is the covetousness of the human heart that is behind so much pain and sorrow in this vain world.
We work to live, yet possess so many things we dont need. We sacrifice relationships and people on the altar of progress and to find self-worth, and end up with faulty families and lost souls. If we persist in world orientated ways, we cannot think we belong to Christ, but are still hard wired into this world’s systems and desires.
Our desires are wholly worldly. We are not primarily concerned about our eternal souls, but about what we can have and do. Spiritual desires are far down our list of priorities, and we do not seek the Lord like we should. We want to look good and appear good to other people and we cloak it in the garb of spiritual witness and think God is pleased. God requires utter honesty with ourselves, so that we see our sin and face up to it.
Motives are contaminated. Going to church has become a social practice and a place to get a thrill of some kind. We do not worship the Lord, and and we are not fed properly from the Word, so we become dependant on the system and not on the Lord. Our personal relationship with Christ is non-existent and we have no power or Spirit to overcome the depths of our depravity.
Sin has its hold on us and continues to do so, and we cannot break free because of the distractions of this world and all that it is. The church has become part of the world system and has been rendered impotent by the influx of worldly ways. I am not speaking of music styles or even the false doctrines that are presented, but the mindset of dependence and social control that has infiltrated the minds of those who say they are seeking God. We are still dependant on money and not the Lord. We still seek recognition for us and ours, and not the love for the person of Christ. There is little humility and the putting down of sinful self, for the sake of either Christ or others. We protect our social standing by learned procedures of social etiquette, rather than the purity of Christian fellowship and communion with each other and Christ.
To be taken seriously we need to have the trappings of this world’s system, so that people will accept us and listen to us. We need education, a proper career, a plan for or lives so that we can develop ourselves, we definitely need money to buy the things we need, so that other will take us seriously and so that we fit in with nice people, who will be friendly to us and accept us into their groups. We need the people around us and the groups we frequent, to validate our lives and let us know we are ok.
What of to was all stripped away, as one day it will be? What would be left for you? What do you have now in terms of ability, success and possessions that will last in the fire of testing at the end of the age?
“….each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is.”
1 Corinthians 3:13
The only things that will last is your spiritual life is Christ and the character you have fostered to become, like Him. Only the work you have done for His sake and have sacrificed for him is going to last. It will be our whole lives that are put under the scrutiny of God, and what will survive those flames? It is a very sobering thought that we are just not good enough and our motives have become contaminated with the mindset of this striving and stressing world.
“But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!”
1 Timothy 3:1-5
This situation os with us now, big time….
“You, however, have observed my teaching, my conduct, my purpose, my faith, my patience, my love, my perseverance, my persecutions, and the sufferings that came upon me…. all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
“But as for you, continue in the things you have learned and firmly believed, since you know from whom you have learned them…. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.”
1 Timothy 3:10-17 (abridged)
It is possible to turn away for the world and all that it holds over us. There is only one way, the way of Christ. Jesus lived in the constant fellowship with the Father, and was constantly in prayer with Him. There were no other distractions and no other love. His obedience was perfect and His humility was astounding. This is our pattern for our lives. Only the Word of God can teach us these things. There is no other voice we can rely on, especially in these sinful and godless days.
The situation is dire, but the remedy is simple. I confess my fault and turn away. Do I really need all the things I say I need? If I do, I am caught up in this world and have become reliant on its things for my support. Perhaps we need to do some careful and prayerful culling… not of things, but of our thoughts and desires and wants. It is painful for we are yet sinful and our fleshly desires are still hot.
But we are not alone. If we really are followers of Christ, the mind of Christ will be in us and will direct us to what we should do and not do. To trust in him is life and peace. Everything else is periphery and unnecessary. God will show us what to do and how to do it. If mistakes have been made, He is able to fix anything and save anyone, when they come in faith and humility. To have His mind in us is life and power and love. If we are to grow in grace, this is the only way and is the way to life and peace.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.”