As our economy slowly re-opens following the COVID-19 pandemic, after months of shopping restrictions and the availability of essential services only, there will be all sorts of promotions to attract buyers into brick-and-mortar shops. I regularly receive advertisements in the mail or online, saying, "Stock up and save sale", "Limited time only", and "Get it before it's gone!" I have done a lot of downsizing and donating during months of isolation, and I don't want to fill up my place with new purchases yet, but those advertised specials are really tempting!
I heard an expression which I like: "There are no moving vans allowed through the gates of heaven!" In other words, we can't take it with us. The apostle John speaks about the love of the world:
1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (NLT)
What is "the world" that he refers to? It isn't our lovely, blue planet, or its people who love God. It is the pleasures, interests, priorities, and materialistic lifestyles of those who rebel against God, by distrusting His Word and its promises. Loving the world is a great threat to our fellowship with the Father.
Loving the world means being attracted to its means of operation, relying on progress, technology, and regulations to do things in a secular, godless way. The rewards that the world promises are prestige, rank, reputation, and comfort. But here's the catch: they last only as long as we are breathing! The advertisers are skilled at appealing to what is attractive to our eyes, sinful desires, and ego.
Living in the world as a faithful believer doesn't mean withdrawing as a hermit, but living with our thoughts free and not dominated by things like career, physical appearance, and status. As Paul counsels us:
Romans 12:2a – Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (NLT)
Consider investing your life in things that can't be lost, because the world is passing away, along with its desires. If we use our time on earth focusing on the Lord, the people with whom He surrounds us, and the great promises of His Word, we will abide forever.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us today to pull our attention away from the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride in possessions, and instead to focus on You and Your will for our lives. May we honour You always in caring for those whom You have placed in our lives. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Worship The Lord" (Lyrics)