My friends at Clearnote Church in Bloomington recorded the following videos last week. I don’t know Pastor Walker, but I was deeply encouraged and challenged by his faith. Set aside an hour and watch the two videos below…
There is always a battle for me between having God as my delight and having the world as my delight. As I read what the Holy Spirit writes through John’s pen, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15), there is an aching in my heart…
There is a sense in which I am not caught up in the world. It’s not as if I’m able to enjoy the high life of a rich executive or a professional athlete. But here’s the question: Is that what I really want?
Am I satisfied with having Jesus Christ or do I desire the things that the worldling desires in order to be satisfied? Is my contentment based on the reliefs that the world can offer: more money, more medicine, more entertainments, more blog hits, more friends, more likes, more possessions, more promotions, more technology, more insurance, more attention, more time, more coffee? When do I have a bounce in my step…when things are “falling into place” and “working out” and “settling down”?
There is a weariness of the world that is godly. When the glory of Christ fills the mind and the world’s best is as filth…that is godly weariness. Even on the day of our wedding or the birth of a child, that weariness happily cries, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
There is also a weariness of the world that is worldly: When we seek to be free from the burden of this fallen world not by understanding and enjoying what we have in Jesus Christ but rather by turning to the balms of the world. That worldly world-weariness is shaped not by what we have in Christ but what we don’t have in this world. Many of us would find more relief in this life in having $20,000 in the saving account than we would in reading Scripture’s teaching on the glory of Jesus Christ, Who has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. Is that true of you?
Where are your thoughts at this moment? Are they fixed on the wonders and tragedies posted on Drudge? the next meal? the next episode? the next game? the cleanliness of the carpet? the next contract? the next therapy? the new scratch in the car door? even the glories of the ocean or the mountains?
…or are they fixed on the glory of Jesus Christ?
May Jesus’s prayer be for me and for you:
“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:25-26).
The environmentalist group Population Matters has called for a world with “fewer emitters, lower emissions.” (“Emitter” may be the most charming euphemism ever conceived for an infant.) Population Matters runs a program whereby environmentally-conscious Westerners purchase carbon-offsetting family-planning credits. In other words, concerned citizens give the group money to fund birth control in developing countries to make up for their own carbon-gobbling lifestyle. In case you’re curious, Population Matters estimates that it only takes $144.20 per year to keep enough of the great unwashed from reproducing to offset a typical American’s existence.
-From Jonathan Last’s What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster, 35
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you (James 5:1-6).
Jesus spoke about the “deceitfulness of wealth” (Matt. 13:22). That wealth is deceitful is a an important concept for us to understand and believe. Money deceives. Wealth makes promises that it is unable to fulfill. With the accumulation of wealth comes an increasing sense of security…and with that security, an increasing sense of invincibility, an increasing sense of pride. Money whispers to us, “Get more of me and you will have comfort, security, and happiness.” Money is, after all, “the answer to everything” (Eccl. 10:19). Money promises health. Money promises hope. Money promises independence. Money promises influence. Money promises significance in life. Money promises happiness. All lies.
How many of us, when we get depressed, like to buy stuff? This attitude toward money could indicate that you are deceived by riches. It has become your balm. And don’t think that you have to shop at the BMW dealership to qualify here. The altar can also be the Dollar General.
Many Christians have been around the Scriptures long enough to know that wealth and being rich are warned against, so we pray this way: “God give me riches so that I might be generous with my money. God, I will be useful to your kingdom and will give away what you give to me.” And when wealth comes, we find that it is hard to part with because we begin to use that “small” portion to accumulate possessions…which require insurance and tax payments and maintenance and supervision. And soon, we realize that we have been duped and that wealth really is deceitful. What was meant for God’s kingdom is now necessary for the maintenance of my lifestyle.
Now remember the Holy Spirit’s teaching on money in James: “You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.” What help it would be for us to abandon our love of money that we often call “provision for my family,” or “enjoying God’s provision,” or “good stewardship,” or “rejoicing in God’s bounty” or “thanksgiving.” Rather, we should begin to see money as a danger, as a greaser of the rails to hell. Money prepares the rich man for the day of judgment just as the feeding tube fattens up the goose’s liver for foie gras. Fed, fed, fed to make the day of slaughter satisfying and profitable. How do you think the rich man (Luke 16:19-31) viewed his earthly riches when he asked Father Abraham to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool off his tongue? Harmless?
And, how do you think God views this man’s agony in the eternal flames? Harmful?