I'm going to cut right to the chase. Right to the brutally honest confessions. I'm kind of in love with this world. I love what it has to offer. I love the opportunities life brings along.
I love living in a country that is more wilderness than it is urban area. I get inspired when I see snowboarding promos (though I cannot snowboard to save my life). I can't sit still when I watch the professional ballerinas en pointe. I get shivers when I watch the clips of people skydiving, cliff jumping, climbing trees, going on safari adventures, playing with lions, riding bareback. Watching people and hearing about those who are really taking a hold of life by the reins, and just living a life in a day. Living in the moment. Challenging fear and death.
I also love the world and it's things. I mean, give me a break! I live in the Pinterest age. How can someone keep their eyes off every DIY and shopping option out there? I mean, I know I'm only one of the millions of ladies who are stuck on that site re-pinning clothes they know they'll never own, crafts they know they'll never make, food they know they'll never try, quotes they know they'll never read again, and bucket list items that will never get checked off. It's the time of the time-waster called the Internet, where we feast our eyes things that can never be ours.
I'm in love with this world. And it's terrible. Because the more I fall in love with this world, the more it falls in love with me. Only... it's not exactly the same kind of love. Where my love for the world is spawned from interest, curiosity, and excitement, the world' love for me is born out of much darker ambition.
While I search for more things to covet and more experiences to try, this world and all its "things" becomes stronger. It weaves a web that ensnares me- a beautiful web. A pleasant web. It becomes so thick and strong that I just don't want to escape. I live in this world, why should I not be a part of it? It has so many beautiful things, it has so much to give me. There is so much I can do. So many places I can go. So many things I can have. And just like that, I am trapped in the sin of lusting over the momentary pleasures of this place I still call home.
The world's love for me is not kind and beautiful, it's dark and malicious. Why? Because Satan is the god of this world.
2 Corinthians 4:4 ~
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
Hold up. This earth was created by God. In fact- He gave it to us. Humans. Just read it in Genesis 1:28-30. He told us to fill the earth and subdue it! He gave us authority over the animals! He gave us every seed-bearing plant. He gave this world to us. How can loving the world that is His gift to us... be wrong?
In fact- the verses and Psalms that emphasize the beauty and majesty of the earth are nearly uncountable! Was David sinning when He praised God for His creation? Was Job at fault when he magnified the majesty of the earth? They really sound in love with the world! So what's the difference?
The truth is, God's creation has nothing to do with it. Sin has everything to do with it. When Satan tempted Eve, he convinced her to love the knowledge of that fruit more than she loved the Law of the Lord. And things spiraled downward from there. When Moses argued to God to send somebody else- he was loving His worldly safety more than God's plan. When David took the census in the wrong spirit, He was loving his worldly power and dominion more than the authority of God in all circumstances.
As I think about all these situations, I'm struck by some similarities between them. Everything that those individuals loved- none of them were wrong. None of them were sinful, in themselves. It was the fact that their love for those worldly comforts surpassed their love for the One who gave created those comforts.
It explains the flaw in the phrase "Money is the root of all evil." We know better. We know it is not the money itself, but the love of money that causes greed and violence. And that can extend to every worldly pleasure. All the things I listed at the beginning- scroll up if you must- were things that excited me. They were things that made me fall in love with this world. It's because I admire the reckless and free attitude that those daredevils possess. There's something so charming and incredible about someone who is willing to risk their life for a thrill. There's something intriguing about someone who lives to find the fun times, rather than getting caught up in the details of everyday life.
Maybe there's nothing wrong with longing for adventure. But looking at the things I deem wonderful and spectacular- what do they say about my heart? Am I really in love with this life so much that fun and games are everything? Talent and skills are what it's all about, eh?
Here's a verse that will completely twist-turn that theory. It's Galatians 6:14~
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified,
and the world's interest in me has also died.
Again, because I understand how the mind of a 2014 first-world citizen works, I'm going to ask you to read that verse again, slower. Maybe one more time after that, even.
Paul has it right. And it is terribly convicting. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ TRULY is the only thing that we have to boast about. Everything else, if Jesus is not the root of it, is not worth showing off. It is all stemming from the world, and from the god- small 'g'- of this world.
And not only is Jesus' gift of salvation the only thing we have to boast about, but because of it, our interest in the world has been CRUCIFIED. It's not just atrophying, it literally was crucified with Jesus. He took our sin, and it died with Him. And what is sin? It is putting 'me' before Him. It's worshiping the world instead of Him. So crucifying our love of the world... maybe that looks like saying 'no' to old favourite pass times, canceling certain subscriptions, protecting ourselves online, deleting some of our old favourite songs, and not looking in the mirror so much.
So I supposed that our interest and love of the things the world has to offer can be a good indicator of where we are with Christ. What else is a good indicator? How about the world's interest in us? That verse tell us that the world's interest in us has died. No longer are we seen as prey that can be easily tricked and trapped. No, we are free beings!
Okay, sound awesome! Freedom! Liberty! Yeah, until you think about what that means in the literal sense. The world has lost its interest in us. Maybe that means we no longer have a chance of fitting in. Maybe that means we are now the outcasts. The losers. Maybe that means saying 'no' to our old favourite activities. Maybe that means we are now the boring ones. Or the weird ones. It means saying good-bye to our society and 'me-first' culture, and saying hello to the Kingdom of God and citizenship built on sacrifice and love.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
Maybe you'll remember a certain historical figure who lived that way. He is one of the few celebrities who did not become famous because of their good looks or talents. In fact, he may be the ONLY well-known historical figure who lived a life of hatred towards the things of the world, but of complete love for the things of God. He was never distracted by the products and temptations that the world offered him. And although his closest friends often stumbled and fell, He still did not listen to the world's mindset of 'every man for himself.' No, He loved on them. He loved on every sinner. He loved on everybody, regardless.
With no superficial love for the world, He could actually BE love, fully and completely, and change the world.
See, you probably know that's my biggest prayer. To change the world. But often, it switches around and the world begins to change me. It turns my mind into first-world, consumerist, greedy gobbledy-goop. It's only because of Christ that I can crucify my love of the world, and therefore be free of its impact on me. But it's a daily struggle. It's not a once-and-for-all decision. It's a decision I have to make every time I turn on the radio, every time I get on the computer, every time I go to the store, every time I read a book, every time I go to school.
It's a decision we have to make every moment of every day, and a decision that will only be made correctly if Christ is our guide.. Today, will I change the world, or will I let the world change me?
You live life like Christ, you'll get publicity. Oh, will you ever get publicity. But not the worldly publicity that you once loved. No, it will be the publicity that turns the world's interest away from you, and the interest and approval of GOD on you.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.