by David Brenneman
"Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For the all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world."
First, what is lust? One definition does apply to a strong sensual sexual appetite. That's the noun. Did you know it's also a verb? In this definition it's a strong desire for something. Linguistically it finds it's origins in Old English, or farther back to Germanic/German Dutch for pleasure or delight.
The more we cling to this world, the more we wrap our minds into the things of this world the less time, energy, and effort we expend in our relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Our easy go to is that when those things 'happen' that 'we deserve this thing' or 'deserve to get away and do...'. We easily justify our lusts some times. Other times we just outright lie to ourselves and convince ourselves that our path is the right one since we were 'allowed' to go down it.
"Well God didn't stop me! So it must be ok!" This isn't going to be a good excuse on that day we face Jesus Himself to give an account of our lives.
Just because we CAN do something does not follow that we MUST do that thing.
Just because we CAN purchase something doesn't imply that God gave you that money or the time to actually buy that thing or do that thing.
We often fill our minds with frivolous things. Wasted hours watching television, wasted watching streaming online. I'm guilty of wasted hours myself...and have nothing to show for it. How to make the most of my time is one of the challenges that I think that God's giving me. That's Ephesians 5:16 NASB "Making the most of your time, because the days are evil."
We quite often lavish things upon ourselves, and the real reason God blessed had nothing to do with giving us a surplus. But to help others.
We quite often actually turn people away from Christ because of our close affilitation to the world by way of zeal for things such as sports.
I know the man was joking, but it was a joke that honestly fell flat and has served as a bad example of what you should not say to someone. In my years of living in the Columbus area, you get to also drown in the ideology of being AN OSU fan. I have never been one, will never be one. I might LIKE certain sports things in this world but will not, to use today's word "lust" after them as I once did. Why? Because honestly it brings out the worst in me. Like it unfortunately did for the man who told me he would pray for me because I wasn't an OSU fan as he was.
Had that been an unbeliever he was speaking to or if one had overheard such a conversation, the entirely wrong idea would have been taken from it.
We're told in Ephesians to make the most of our time. We're told not to love the world nor the things of this world. We're told to set our minds on the things above not on the things of this world. We're told to study and be in the Word of God to understand the Will of God.
Oh so many people want to cozy up to the world to try to get their hearts desire. Some to seek a thrill. Some to try to build a slice of Heaven here on Earth.
These people don't realize they are desensitizing themselves to the things of God. They will wake up one day and wonder what happened. Why isn't God hearing their prayers? Why isn't God as alive in their lives now as He was at first? The Bible has a phrase for that type of person: a hardened heart. Due to repetition Scientists have learned that both animals and people will accept behaviors if they are given no choice but to be bombarded by them. A generation of monkeys were taught that if they approached this particular group of bananas in the middle of the room they would get hit with sprays of water to keep them from getting to it. They learned not to approach it. New monkeys were introduced who knew nothing of this. They never used the water again but any time the new monkeys tried to get to the bananas the first generation wouldn't let them near it. The second generation just learned to do as they were told and the bananas remained untouched and none of the new generation understood why. As generations of people come and go they teach a generation what to accept and what to reject. Each successive generation allows more things that ought not to have been acceptable in God's eyes and according to God's Word.
Look around your world. It's your personal world. What have you surrounded yourself with? What gets your emotions flowing? What gets your excitement going? Where does your zeal lie? Is it in things in this world? If so...my Dear Reader...beware. It's creating a greater distance between you and God's Will for your life. Our mission in life as Believers in Christ is the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and to be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary. If we're allowing things in our lives that go against God's Word, we know what we ought to do. The Bible even says that those who know the right thing to do and do not do it, sins. Are you sinning in your desires and appetites? Are you sinning in your closeness with the world?
Essentially: Does Jesus have your whole heart? Not the parts you have decided to give Him access to, but all of it?
For Him to be Lord of your life means all of your life belongs to service to Him. It means that things do not end after the Church Service you go to. It means that your time is His time. We who are in Christ cannot be living so close to the world that the world can't tell us apart from them. Just because we are blessed with money, talent and possessions doesn't mean we're to lavish on ourselves. God blesses so we can bless others. The early Church sold of possessions and property to help others in the Church obtain a greater life in Christ that wasn't enslaved to this world.
How close to the world are you? How far away is God actually from you? Not that He's moved. He never has, never will. It's us who hurt our relationship with Jesus by pursuing things in this world, wasting our time in this world, on things that do not matter in light of eternity. Jesus didn't come to Earth to live a sinless life, in order to see the sights. He refused any affiliations with anything or anyone on Earth. He stood by ONE affiliation...that which He has with the Father and the Spirit. The Jewish Leaders recognized, eventually, that He was from God, but actually hated Him for it because of why? It showed their deeds were evil.
He would never join them in their hypocrisy. A definition of hypocrite is an actor. An actor portrays a false persona to others with the hopes of being believed for what they portray.
In your daily life are you being an actor? Are you being one way at home and another in front of the world?
It's time to look in the mirror and be real with yourself. It's time to see if your passion and zeal are misplaced. It's time.
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