It has been heavy on my heart for a long time the condition our world is in and the path it is continuing on. And more importantly than that is how the world is influencing the church. Today, you even find the pope trying to pacify the world by trying to find ways in which the church can compromise what the bible teaches so that it fits with what the world teaches. The bible is VERY clear on this sort of thing. We are in this world but not of it.
Too many of us have our bibles sitting on a shelf collecting dust... and at most, go to church but once a week. Our daily lives are FILLED with work, social things, stress, people, fun, etc... Day in and day out we FILL ourselves with all sorts of things and far too many of us put so little of that kind of time and energy into a relationship with God.
The world is YELLING in your ear... sometimes whispering... always seducing... speaking words that are coated in honey... The world entices... The world pressures... The world teaches and leads... You are living in the world... and the world wants to have control over you. We let our society dictate what morals should be... what we should wear, eat, drink, listen to, watch, etc... The world speaks quite loudly... the world is constantly changing. Are you changing WITH it?
If you believe in God and believe that Jesus died to PAY for YOUR sins... That should be THE most important thing in your life...
But, here we are living in the world and giving all of our time to it. God and His word, though they should be the greatest influence in your life, are often found sitting on the shelf just waiting for a Sunday or a holiday. Consider the investment you give to each of those things... To God, and to the world. Which of these do you invest more of yourself into?
Whatever we put our time and energy into is going to be what influences our lives the most.
You heard me. This is quite apparent with many things in life but to use a very simple and clear analogy we'll mention music here.
If you were forced to listen to one single song 8 hours a day for a week... I promise, you'll not forget those words. Consider the words. You might find yourself singing swear words... or if you work in a preschool you might find yourself singing your ABCs.
Listen to whatever it is enough and you will find that you can NEVER get those things out of your brain. They're now a part of you one way or another... love them or hate them.
Putting your time and energy into God verses spending time and energy on the world is similar. Whatever you put yourself into is what is going to influence you the most.
So... you're in the world... hanging out with the cool kids doing what they do. when you're out at a party and people are doing things that go against what the bible teaches... do you even consider the bible? Or, will you just go with the crowd and become like them?
We should carry our faith with us EVERYWHERE we go. We should be in God's word SO often that it becomes THE most important part of who we actually are. It should define us. Our relationship with God should define us.
Consider accents. My wife and I spent most of our early years living in New England. I do not have a strong Boston accent... I never really did but what I had has faded a little. My wife... she works for an elderly gentleman and I often find her saying things with a southern accent because that's what she hears every day.
Outside forces SHAPE who you are. This is unavoidable.
So again... The world is ALL around us. We're in it every day. Too often, we embrace it. So while the world is PUSHING their world view on us... If we're not constantly rooted in our belief and faith in God's word... we WILL be led astray.
I'm so passionate about this subject, I could really go on... but, don't take my word for it. Open up the bible and read it. There are many verses that speak about the influence of the world and how it affects us and what it means to us. Let's look at just a few.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Hey, look at that one... it comes with something of a promise. If you... then... consider that. So many people search for God's will... this gives you clear direction on how to attain it.
1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Hmmm, this one comes with something else attached to it. This one doesn't sound so nice though. If you love the world, the love of your Father is not in you? If I didn't have so much to type already I'd explain a little bit about God's will and laws and commands and WHY they're so important to us and HOW they are good for us. These things are for OUR benefit. But this clearly states just how important it is to be spending your time with God and not living your life in love with the world.
1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
The reason the world does not know us? Look around... Far too many of us Christians are living in such a way that the world knows us and loves us. We fit in. We shouldn't. It is becoming a more and more common thing for those that actually take the time to stand for what God's word teaches... to be considered awful and hated. Nobody likes to be judged and hated... so, far too many conform to the world rather than God's word.
While the sound of being hated sure isn't a good one... it is what God told us would happen.
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[a] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.
You DO NOT belong to the world.
Friends, I mention all of these things because the world is influencing Christians and the church. Entire branches of the church are changing what they teach to satisfy the world rather than teach what God's word says... and more and more try to USE individual bible verses to try and further the world view. The deceiver that was with Jesus in the desert knew scripture and tried to USE it to influence Jesus' actions. Be careful to test ALL scripture and simply study and and spend time with God rather than simply listening to what the world teaches.
Who do you belong to? Jesus said that you do not belong to the world... that, He has chosen you out of the world. Jesus paid for you with His blood.
So, who do you belong to? Are you living for men or for the world?
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
to whom do you belong... and who do you aim to please?
Father God, I thank you for you Son's sacrifice to pay for my sins. I pray that I might continue to seek to be holy and to do your will. I pray that I would spend more and more time with you and that my relationship with you would shape every aspect of my life. I pray that you would bring me comfort as the world rises up against me. I pray that you would bring me peace and strength. I pray that my faith would not be shaken. Your word stands forever Lord. Let me always keep it in my heart.
I feel as if I could write a book on this subject. So much to say... I pray that your heart will be open to receive these words.