Life is certainly consuming! So much thought, emotion, and energy is poured into the things of this fleeting world. We have to live, provide, and plan, but should this world be all-consuming? For an unbeliever, worldliness makes sense. It is all they have. But as a believer, I ask myself why. Why do I invest in things that will not matter in eternity?
Every time God’s Word is preached I get convicted. Last Sunday was no exception. My husband preached a sermon from 1 Corinthians 3:1-7 addressing the cause, characteristics and cure of carnality. Two things stood out in particular. He called them external and internal influences that cause worldliness. I like to call them the delights of this world and the desires of the flesh.
The Delights of this World
All these delights (or external influences) could be summed up with one word – things. Things we love, things we buy, things we invest in, things that distract us, things that cause us to sin, things….things…things…
Or we could call our things “childish pursuits” as David Breese did when he said,
“Strong sons of God are not perfected by childish pursuits.”
The cure if found in I John 2:15-17. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
The Desires of the Flesh
These desires are the internal influences. Not only do we battle against the world, but also our own flesh. I can relate to the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:19:
“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
I want to do good things, but I don’t do them. And the things that I don’t want to do, those I do. This is the battle of the flesh, constantly warring within.
Although the war rages, know that we are overcomers! We overcome the delights of this world by seeking God. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” Matthew 6:33.
We overcome the desires of the flesh by pouring God’s Word into our hearts and turning our eyes to Jesus. As Helen Lemmel so eloquently penned in 1922:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
If we allow it the world will certainly consume our life, but if we will turn our eyes to Jesus, seek the things above, this world will have no hold over us, and all these things will become strangely dim. That is my heart’s desire.