Saturday, January 12, 2008

# 235: The World

Why does the New Testament (NT) speak so harshly when it comes to ‘the world’? That is what this post will explore. The word ‘world’ is mentioned approximately 200 times in the NT. The vast majority of the time, it is referring to the people in the world. 1st John 2:17. “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” And just a few times it refers to the earth itself, like when it says in Matthew 25:34. “. . . the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Even with all the violent weather, which causes floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, erupting of volcanoes, etc. the earth is not a bad place to live in, since it is the only planet we intimately know, which is habitable.

When the Bible writers speak severely, according to the words of Christ, about the world, they are referring to the people who live by the standards of this world, and do not live as God and Jesus Christ commands. What is it that this large group of worldly people does or doesn't do which are classified by Christ as a scorned humanity? Actually, they can be classified into two groups. The first are people who don’t believe in God or Christ, and the second are people who say they believe in God and Christ but don’t live as God requires.

Many in both groups are upright, decent, honest, loving, etc. people. But there is one thing both lack: to have a great, noble and holy cause in life that dominates and controls their lives with a passionate intensity; without that type of cause (advancing the gospel) which Christ gives, all life is of trivial and fleeting value. For example, with all their good moral traits, they are ungodly, since God is not included in their lives, except maybe on Sunday for an hour.

Let’s name just a few of the activities which they engage in that classified them as ungodly people of the world. Their most common natural attribute which separates them from God is their main interest is in the welfare of themselves, family and love-ones. That doesn’t seem right or fair to call that ungodly, but it is true. Here’s the reason why: Matthew 10;37. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worth of me.” Luke uses tougher words on the same subject in Luke 14:26.

The first and greatest concern in the lives of Christ’s disciples is to love our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And the second is to love our neighbor as yourself. The only way these commands can be obeyed is not with holy words but with the way we lives. These two most important commands are the ones that are the foundation of all faith, love, obedience and holiness; and it is a crying shame, they are the most neglected in all Christianity. What it means is there can be no Christianity without observing/obeying these two commands, regardless how loving and wonderful people may seem, even people who call themselves Christians. In God’s view, they are people of the world.

If and when we love God with our all and our neighbor as ourselves, that would automatically put family in second place. How many people put love for God and neighbor before family? That is a tough question which most would rather not think about.

Above and beyond the aforementioned commands, let’s get to the nitty gritty of what worldly desires are. The most dominate of all ungodly practices is greed. Of course, very few is any call it greed, we have given that nasty word many honorable euphuisms, such as material prosperous, worldly wealthy, go-getters, fortunate, financially rich, educated, [I wouldn't associate education or being educated with being greedy] shrewd, a smart business person, born wealthy, lucky and many more. Then there is another group of greedy people: those who are not any of the above, but are ordinary people who are stingy and wouldn’t let go of a penny for any reason, as it were.

Another worldly habit is to be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Such as engaging in entertainment and having fun. This category covers hundreds if not thousands of ways we can be lovers of pleasure, like TV, movies, music from all forms of high-tech gadgets. The more sensual and unusual/provocative they are, the more popular they become. Another is: Vacation type travel, just for the sake of getting away from the dog-eat-dog reality this world offers.

To put it another way, the more enticing anything is to our animal nature, the more desirable they become. Actually, the best way of describing worldly attitudes is anything in which God is not included. This last sentence covers all things, habits, and attitudes that make them worldly.

Some will say, “If that’s what worldly attitudes are, this author is absolutely crazy.” I agree, I am crazy in love with Christ. But when “christians” don’t make Jesus Christ their role-model, that is crazy in the eyes of God. To end this sensitive discussion, a better way to describe worldliness is to ask ourselves this question: would Jesus Christ engage himself in what we’re doing? In fact, that is the best test to see if the NT is pointing its finger at us when this phrase is used ‘the people of this world’.

I am certain, these could be the most unpopular and hated words to come from a spiritual person. You see, when church leaders are loved and admired by the world, you can bet your bottom dollar they are clever, having an upright appearance, while using pleasant sounding words to please the ears of the naivete. You can be sure, the majority are counterfeit Christians. In the complete NT, it becomes evident that God’s truth is not looking for popularity. In fact, the truth will never be popular, at least in this world, especially to fake Christians.

What’s funny is the things and attitudes this world offers are the very things humans naturally go after. Why is that? Answer: because without Jesus Christ being our boss (Lord), we are nothing but intelligent, conniving animals looking for what pleases our sinful nature. Of course, most of us attempt to do that in a dignified manner.

In conclusion, the only thing to consider is that worldly pleasures, as nice and necessary as they seem, cannot be compared with the pleasures, peace and joy God through Christ gives to His faithful followers. This last sentence has to be experienced in order to believe its validity and truthfulness. You see, God offers everyone the best He has which has lasting value, while this world give what seems to satisfy temporarily, but leaves people with a wanton desire for more. It's a vicious never ending cycle. The worldly ways are easy; the other comes with dedication to living as God requires, which is not so easy.

Even as we separate ourselves from the ways of this world, it is important to know that we still, out of necessity, will have to mingle with people of this world, otherwise we would have to leave this world. But, at the same time, we must not associate with any people who call themselves Christians but are sexually immoral, greedy, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards or swindlers. With such people do not even eat. Paraphrased from 1st Corinthians 5: 9-11. The apostle Paul extends this list of no, no’s in 1st Corinthians 6:9-10.

And then, one’s place of employment or the people one deals with in business may have nothing to do with God. That cannot be helped; again it is a necessity to associate with them. Nevertheless, it is imperative to let those we associate with know and see our true colors, without badgering them.


Anonymous said...

I love this blog!!! It is so true. No one can argue with it. A deep thinking mind can only analyze themself as they read this blog. In history we hear about humans being "real" animals, like in the history of the Romans where people got "how they can get". Murders for entertainment, orgies, drunkeness, etc... Religions face then appeared to somehow bring order to a world of crazies. Now the world is far away from that order and we are in big trouble. I can't even watch tv without having these ways shoved down my face. "Entertainment" that is offered to people only assists in them in becoming addicted to the evil traps of the devil. I realized this and have become secluded from the rest of the world. I entertain myself and loved ones in natures presence, (hiking, camping etc.)I am ok with having no "friends" realizing that the odds of finding someone else who sees it how I do is near impossible and not worth the hassle. Society has become very ill, with technology factored in I am sure we are worse off then the days of sodom and gamora. God Bless You for your convictions, It's to bad that this information isn't chemically addicting, no way to reach the minds of typical society!!!

JC said...

Anonymous, thanks for your like- minded comment. There is nothing I can say except, Amen. You made my day, not only my day, but my month. Keep up God's work and let God continue to bless you and yours. JC