Will you run after the things of this world or will you run after what pleases God?
Sometimes I feel like I can strongly say no to the attractions of the world but then there are days when I just want to give in–define myself with worldly success, buy things that will impress people and make them like me. I thought I was over this phase when I got past my teenage years but it turns out, we cannot be too proud. Our sinful nature will creep in and the enemy will do whatever it takes to distract and get us off the path the Lord has laid out. That’s why prayer is essential. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
What exactly are the things of this world? These are things that would not last, these are things most people run after but perish for they don’t have eternal value. MATERIALISM is a popular example of worldliness. While I have learned to become practical with my finances, I do have times when I want to purchase a lot of things like gadgets, home decor and beauty products. When I was in my teens, I told myself that I would buy a lot of clothes once I began working and that’s exactly what I did. In the first few years of my employed life, I looked forward to payday because that meant I could buy new articles of clothing. The sight of my wardrobe being filled to the brim satisfied a craving within me. It pleased me all the more when I would show people photos of my closet and they would give me a nod of approval. Fast forward to 2014 (the year when I started to seriously downsize my wardrobe), I looked at all the clothes I bought–some stood the test of time, some wore out and then there were those that were just trendy for a season. I looked at my collection and asked myself–do I seriously get to wear all of these? Are all of these functional? What’s the point of having a wardrobe bursting with clothes and not really using all of them? Pride. Vanity. Peer approval. Whether we accept it or not, when we die, we cannot bring material things with us for these too have a shelf life.
How else do Christians struggle with worldliness? Money, power and fame–the world’s definition of success. While the Lord does bless people with riches and influence, the problem begins when we become so obsessed with running after these things and losing our focus on God. When we desire to please the world, to be accepted, to be lauded–even if it means compromising and losing our values. 2 Corinthians 3:2-4 says that in the last days “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–“ If you observe the world around you, society has become more tolerant or accepting of these things.
For instance, years ago, being called a b*tch was derogatory. Now, influential personalities and even the media has tweaked and promoted it to be something aspirational:
So what are we to do? Do we assimilate or distance ourselves? Distancing ourselves isn’t the exact solution because we are also commanded to be salt and light in the world. How then do we find the balance? I was watching this video lecture series called Reframe and I love how the speaker emphasized our role as AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST. Ambassadors or diplomats live in a foreign country and represent their country of origin. While they live there, they learn the culture, respect the customs, establish good relations but they don’t become one of them. Diplomats through the embassy, also extend help and assistance to their citizens stationed in or visiting a particular country.
As ambassadors for Christ, we represent Him to the world. We learn the culture and customs, establish good relations but we don’t have to be one of them. What we are to do is shine His light and live in a way that would make them desire Christ.
Will you run after the things of this world or run after what pleases God? Running after what pleases God may not always be pleasurable or popular but there is blessing in the Lord’s presence. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.