We worry so much about not “acting” like the world that we lose sight that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
We accuse people of acting ‘worldly.’ Why? What are they doing to be ‘worldly?’ Is it having a beer? Is it talking to someone who we ‘deem’ a ‘heathen’ or a ‘non-christian?’ Is it going to the movies? Is it listening to ‘worldly’ music? Is it because of how they dress?
What exactly is being ‘worldly?’ Do I have an adequate answer? No. There are people who seem to think they have the answer, but I don’t. I can only give you things to think about.
Mike Roe of the 77s, Lost Dogs and solo projects wrote a song called “The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes and the Pride of Life.” It’s based on I John 2:16 and I’ll try in my own feeble way to break it down. We are told by John not to love the ‘world.’ He was dealing more with ‘worldly’ attitudes. God so loved the world…us…the people…
“Well I feel like I have to feel something good all of the time
With most of life and cannot deal, but good feeling I can deal even though it may not be real
And if a person, place or thing can deliver, I will quiver with delight
But will it last me for all my life, or one more lonely night
The lust, the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life
Drains the life right out of me” – Mike Roe
“For all that is in the world, the Lust of the flesh…” I John 2:16
Luke 4:1-4 & Matthew 4:1-4 “…turn this bread to stone…”
The first temptation Satan presented before Jesus was the lust of the flesh. A simple thing like the need for something to eat can lead someone in the wrong direction. Jesus was fasting. He was led by the Spirit. It can be so easy to forget what we are supposed to be doing when our flesh kicks in.
In CS Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters a higher demon was addressing an underling about how to mess up a Christian. “If he thinks about reading the enemy’s book (the Bible) tell him he’s hungry. Get his mind on something else.”
Motivation We sell out for physical, temporal satisfaction.
Esau gave up his birthright for temporary satisfaction. Gen 25:29-34
“When I see something and I want it ‘bam’ right now, no questions asks
Don’t worry about if I can afford it now or later I want it and I want it fast
I’d go to any lengths sacrifice all that I have or all that I might get
Just to get something more I don’t need and Lord, please don’t ask what for
“…the lust of the eyes…” I John 2:16
Luke 4:5-18 & Matthew 4:8-10 “…all this I will give thee…” “Come on Jesus…compromise. Compromise on principle Compromise on this whole Jesus thing. You could have a great ministry. People will come from all over if you just let up on the whole Son of God thing. Just talk about being good, and doing the right things and you’ll be financially blessed, but don’t talk about sacrifice and selfless love…The world is before you, just bow down to me, just for a moment…one time…compromise and all will be yours.”
We compromise for the temporal because we can’t quite grasp the eternal. The simple gospel of “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” gets lost to “If you do these things then God will bless you abundantly…Give one He’ll give ten…Give ten He’ll give 100…”
“For the preaching of the cross…is the power of God” gets lost to “Godliness is Profitable.”
We give up our lives to gain “junk.” Stuff, things. We sacrifice our time with our families to have a nicer car, a bigger house, a boat, a wide screen TV, a faster computer, a better watch, eat at finer restaurants. We sacrifice love for stuff and claim it’s because we love our family that we want to give them stuff. Soon our families love for you is exchanged for their love of stuff…or should we say “lust” for stuff.
We treat God like a sugar daddy in the sky. “If you love us God…give up the stuff.” We are like spoiled children who no longer love our Father, but just want what He can give us.
After Jesus fed the 5,000 + he separated himself. He knew what was in their hearts…John chapter 6.
“Well I love when people look at what I’m doing or have done
And lay it on about how groovy I am, and that I’m looking grand
And every single word makes me think I’ll live forever and ever with no end
But they’ll probably won’t remember what they said tomorrow
Tomorrow I could be dead
“…the pride of life…” 1 John 2:16
Luke 4:9-12 & Matt 4:5-7 Satan took Jesus to the Pinnacle of the temple. High point. “Come on. Jump off. If you are who you think you are, God will send angels, ain’t that what ‘the word’ says? Do that, and then everyone will have to listen to you. Then they’ll see.”
We like acclaim. We like to be admired for what we’ve done. We think we can be used greatly if we could just do something “spectacular.” Then they’ll listen. Then they’ll see. Pride can be such a powerful weapon of destruction. We puff ourselves up, thinking that we are the world’s only hope. We think we know it all. We think if only…So we try and do something amazing, only to lose sight of what am I doing this for? And we try to maintain the fame, not because we want to share Jesus, but because we like the fame. The fame becomes our idol. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty heart before a fall.” We are all susceptible to pride.
But it’s hard to keep the image untainted. We are swallowed by pride. We try to keep our faults secret. We sit on a pedestal and don’t realize that the ground will be hard when we fall. I developed a new saying the other day. It goes like this. “The thing I like most about NOT being up on a pedestal is it doesn’t hurt as bad when I fall.”
The only One we should be lifting up in our lives is Jesus.
If only 3 people read this...may you come into a relationship with Jesus...
Be blessed...be graceful...be covered in grace...
Jesus loves you.