The world is a spectacular place full of wonder and beauty. Snow covered mountains, lush green rain forests and clear blue oceans are just a few of the magnificent sceneries on this planet.
In addition to the beauty of nature, there’s also a whole array of different cultures, exquisite foods and exotic lifestyles to choose from. Whether it’s possessions, money, travel, or worldly status, anything and everything is available. Nothing is off-limits.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder we are often captivated by what the world has to offer. Its charm and appeal is very attractive, luring even the most dedicated of believers into its grasp with promises of happiness, self-worth and prosperity.
But the world is a great deceiver and every day it bombards us with its own ideas — ideas that are in direct contrast to God. It entices and pulls at our natural flesh, putting us at odds with our spiritual minds.
For example, the world tells us we are our own masters, having complete authority and control over our lives. But this is opposite of what God teaches. The book of James tells us that we are to submit our lives over to God’s authority and follow only him. And he goes even further than that; James also teaches that anyone who is a friend of the world is actually an enemy of God (James 4:4; 7-10). Harsh words for anyone to hear.
The world also tells us to pursue money and possessions because wealth is where we find true happiness. Again, this is the opposite of truth. Scripture tells us that loving money is the beginning of all kinds of sin and can cause a believer to wander from his faith. Instead of chasing after money, we should depend on God to supply all our needs and find contentment with what he provides (1 Timothy 6: 6-19). More importantly, Scripture teaches again and again that true happiness is found by proclaiming Jesus Christ in every situation (Philippians 1:12-18).
And it doesn’t stop there. The world uses and promotes sexual immorality as a way of self-expression; conflict and rivalry as a way of being heard above the crowd; jealousy and envy as a way of expressing dissatisfaction at life; and greed and selfish ambition as a way of attaining self worth. These and more appeal to the lusts and pleasures of our sinful nature and offer empty promises of happiness and fulfillment once acquired.
But God says something different. He tells us not to walk in flesh but to walk in the spirit. Listen to this in 2 Corinthians 4:18:
“...we" class="auto" target="_blank">class="s1">“...we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
In other words, believers shouldn’t look to the things of this world which are temporary and fleeting; instead, believers need to fix their eyes on Jesus Christ who is forever and eternal.
So how is it possible to reject the world’s standards when we live and work in this place? Luckily, God hasn’t left us to our own devices; he’s graciously provided all that we need.
First, he’s given us his word. By reading and studying Scripture, we learn God’s truths which enable us to more easily detect and reject the lies of the world. Second, he’s graciously provided us with a meeting place — his church. By attending church with other believers, we can lean on and draw strength from each other during difficult times through our unity in Christ. And third, God has graciously provided us with his Holy Spirit; a spirit who teaches us Christian character and virtues for living a life pleasing to God (Galatians 5:22-26).
But as always, we have a choice. We can choose to live our lives through what the world offers or through what God offers.
Let’s choose wisely.
Donna Hughey is an award-winning Christian author and columnist. She lives in Crescent City.