Seeing “the World” for What It Is

MoneyHousesDon’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.(1 John 2:15-17 PHILLIPS).

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). In this teaching our Lord contrasts the value of man against the world. The word for world comes from the Greek “cosmos,” and refers to the present system, order, or arrangement of human ideals, goals, values, lusts, etc. of earthly existence. It does not refer to the creation of God. It is “the world” the apostle John warns Christians to not love because it is “passing away” along with its lusts or evil desires.

In contrast to this tawdry, illusionary, doomed-to-destruction, human counterfeit construction that passes, in the minds of many, for the real and only thing we have to choose, the soul is what we bargain away in order to possess this “world.” Jesus says that if a man could gain everything this present system has to offer – riches, power, fame or possessions – all of it combined could not equal the value of his soul.

Why would anyone sell their soul, the totality of his or her being, for anything the world has to offer? Yet one of the greatest afflictions of our age is materialism, which is nothing but a form of loving this world. This evil distorts our sense of values and takes us away from our God. James describes it this way; “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:2, 3).

At this season of the year when we are so completely absorbed in busyness, making lists, buying and thoughts of getting what we want, let us not lose sight of the words of Jesus … “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

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