Of This World

Ponderings “Of this World”

As I was reading the book of James, I came across this verse that hit me like a ton of bricks… “You adulterous people {as in cheating on God, being unfaithful to Him}, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God. Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” James 4:4

Which got me thinking, I think I AM friends with this world… wait? What does friends of this world mean?

At first, I thought about American culture- the “world” I live in and thought, well, I am “friends” with this American culture – maybe even BFFs!  My initial thoughts went to technology; I have a cell phone and internet TV, I binge watch Netflix series (I’m working on that!), and have a beautiful home that my husband and I DIY renovated (SO AMERICAN!), I have a part-time job and started my own business (chasing that ‘American dream’ right?), we have 2 cars, a daughter in private school – does that make me of this world? I went to public school, graduated college, I have a Costco membership, LOVE Amazon Prime (maybe a little too much) and my (now, not so secret) guilty pleasure is strolling the isles of Target (kid-less) sipping on my beloved Starbucks, enjoying all the pretty things… that SURELY makes me friends of this world right? I do love all the things stated above – what’s more “worldly” than Starbucks in Target? There are so many incredible, amazing things “of this world” even that God gave us… our planet, the universe, the gorgeous seasons, waterfalls, beautiful sunsets, Hawaii… what’s so bad about that?of this world-1-2Then I dug a little bit deeper, maybe “of this world” things aren’t necessarily things but philosophies, culture, unsaid/unable to see, but completely understood notions of our world.  If I think about it this way, I think of :

  • Materialism / Greed:  Surely a ‘worldly’ thing – all about what you have, how much you have of it, how much it cost, the VALUE of all the THINGS. Keeping up with the Jones’ & Kardashians’!
  • Distracted, Mindless Living: thanks to all the distractions of our busy schedules and cell phones, social media and all of the other things that fight for our attention and can get sucked into day after day. Which ties into…
    • A “go go go, rushed and hurried” mentality with more “extra-curricular” activities taking over, classes to take, all the sports to rush to, more things to do, more parties/events to go to, more things to “fill up the calendar”, leaving the person/family tired and depleted from All. The. Things.
  • Self Pleasure / Selfish Ambition: alcohol,  gluttony, self-medication, drunkenness, “elixirs” to help ease the anxieties and depression and struggles of our world.  The world we live in today gives the message “it’s all about what you want, when you want it”. Whatever it takes to make us feel good, whatever that may entail – seems like it’s all on the table. We live in a progressing selfish world, with such a Me Me Me entitlement attitude prevailing – and I’m afraid it’s just getting worse as the generations go on with such life becoming easier, faster, ‘on-demand’, more and more comfortable & entertained with all these technological advances.                   *Please note – I absolutely believe in medications for illnesses, but I can’t tell you how many times people want to just “pop a pill <insert vice>” here and there to help their ailments, fixing the symptoms with a band-aid rather than addressing the root of the problem, whatever it may be.Along with the self-pleasure theme is the subset of sex, sex and more sex: Our world is so sexualized, and it’s only getting worse. Everywhere you turn there’s some sort of sexual connotation, provocation or implication – sex sells and these companies are really trying to sell us all! Then there are the actual evil crimes of sex; sex trafficking, sexual abuse, pedophilia, prostitution… the list goes on.
  • Lastly, the obvious evils of this world: wars, poverty, rape, child abuse, murder, pornography, mass shootings, exploitation, torture, enslavement, etc… but that’s obviously an easy one, for me, to not be “of this world”.

As I was thinking of these worldly things, I thought about what the Bible says about it:

MATERIALISM: There are numerous teachings about materialism / greed in the bible, a few that come to mind are:

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20

DISTRACTED, MINDLESS LIVING 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

…but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work… Deuteronomy 5:14

SELF PLEASURE / SELFISH AMBITION

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” Philippians 2:3 

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16 

SEX: Even if you’re not a believer, I’m sure most people know Scripture covers a lot about sex. 

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.1 Corinthians 6:18

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God… 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5


So, in light of these ponderings and a deeper understanding of this “world” I live in –  I can say, NO – I am not friends of this world. I am tempted for sure, I can get caught up in things, absolutely yes… but I am enlightened. I am trying really hard to stay the path. I pray about it. I surrender my days to God and have faith he will continue to guide me. As I researched this topic more, I came across this verse that tied it all together for me:

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16 

So that’s it –  things of this world, are the sinful desires of the flesh, desire of things that we see, and being prideful with possessions. And as I dug deeper deeper – I remembered this verse I had read a while ago and the idea of really, literally not being of this world:

BECAUSE ” …our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20

YEP – that’s it! As a believer, a child of God, I have complete faith that I will go to Heaven when I die, and spend eternity with my Creator in the most incredible, unimaginable place… not of this world. of this world-1-4.jpg Well, there are a few integral things I do to help me not be sucked into things “of this world” – although it’s a battle. I feel like I am constantly learning and fighting the natural “desires of my flesh”.  I imagine as in any fight – the more that we persevere, the stronger we get… here are a few examples of how I battle this:

I read the bible (almost) daily: This grounds me. Corrects me in various areas of my life that I need to straighten out. Enlightens me. Teaches me. Inspires me. Heals me.

I pray often, all throughout the day: I surrender myself and my day to God, every day in prayer. I praise Him for all the blessings and teachings, from the simplest things in life to the challenges and hardships I’m enduring. I ask for forgiveness – on the daily, because I need it.  I pray for family and friends and beyond.

I go to church weekly: If you would have told me years ago that I’d be a front row, weekly church-goer, I’d probably crack up at the notion. But, that’s me – right up front, every Sunday… it feeds my soul, each and every week. The music touches me beyond words, the message usually is spot on in my life,  speaks to me and impacts me on a deep level that at times seems UNBELIEVABLE how pertinent the message is at that time in my life, AND I get to dress up and sometimes do my hair, since it’s my only opportunity to do so throughout the days – wait?… is that vanity? <insert prayers here>

I listen to praise music almost all the time: My 12 yr old asked me about this the other day, asking why I always listen to “the same Christian songs” – which is true, I have a favorite playlist with about 55 songs that shuffles (I think he was getting bored of the same ol songs, so we turned on a Top Christian Song playlist to get some fresh new songs in the mix – he was ok with that). It’s a looooong way from my Eminem days, let me tell you!

So through the above tactics, these ponderings of “living in the world” have helped solidify the path I am on and yes! I can absolutely enjoy my Starbucks in Target – but all these things need to be done and enjoyed for the glory of God. If we are walking and living FOR God, then we are not sucked into living the way of the world, and all that it tempts and entails.

I will end with this:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

I’d truly like to know what you think about all of this. How do you interpret of this world? What did I miss on my list? What would you say is of this world? Do you have a different perspective of this all? AND… how do you preserve this marathon of life? Please comment and chime in as I always invite a rich discussion about such meaningful things!

#inspiredjoy

 

 

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