“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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17 NASB).
Secular marketing has definitely figured out how powerfully influential man’s sinful nature is.
Aided by man’s tendency to blindly accept thoughts birthed through vain philosophies, human logic, lustful passions, and boastful thoughts, those marketing anything from cars to wardrobes to children’s toys know that mankind’s flesh will always jump toward the things of this world. Without the holy restraints that come through a relationship with Jesus, a Spirit-filled walk, and the application of God’s Word, all of us would be slaves to sin, manipulated by a world system gone wild.
Through his lustful failings, King David certainly understood the dangers of letting a wicked world system influence his thinking. His repentant desire to avoid having the world fasten its grip on his mind is perhaps the reason he wrote, “I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me” (Psalm 101:2-3).
Knowing how easy it would be for the influences of a world that had fallen away from God to penetrate the fortress of his own house, David purposed to recognize and stand firm against any further attacks from this vicious foe.
David probably would have emphasized his stand against the world even more if he had been exposed to cable television, the Internet, smart phones, and the worldwide web. Though not inherently evil, these tools of our current culture can certainly be used to ensnare us in sin if we use them negligently. Without thinking, we could be bringing the wicked influences of our world system right into our living rooms and pockets.
In light of all this, what should we be doing to stand firm against the world?
First, we need to recognize how subtle the attacks of the world really are. As an elementary school student in Texas, I clearly remember the major emphasis our school system placed on Zero Population Growth. In assemblies and classroom settings, we were repeatedly told that the world was overpopulated.
This humanistic assumption was so convincingly presented to us as truth that we as children were made to fear for the survival of the human race. Many of us believed that the only hope for mankind’s survival was the plan of not having more than two children. We were made to think that world survival hinged on our compliance to this philosophy.
This vain thought was so well ingrained in my thinking as a child that all through high school and even into college, I believed the world was overpopulated. That only changed after I realized that the 7.4 billion people of the world would easily fit within the city limits of Jacksonville, Florida.
Giving everyone almost three square feet in which to stand, no one would even have to touch another person, since the city of Jacksonville contains almost twenty-one billion square feet. I also realized at that time that most of the problems related to population grew out of man’s sinful mismanagement of the world.
Second, we need to spend more time in the Word of God, trusting the Spirit of God to give us discernment so as to know what is of God and what is of the world. “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:21-22).
We must become a people who no longer spend time in God’s Word simply to gain knowledge. We must let Him use it to change our ways and our deeds.
Third, we need to take to heart the truth that if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us. Anything we love more than God is an idol.
When He tells us to lay down the sinful things of this world, and we refuse, our love for Him has failed. Has the world fastened its grip on you?
Click here to read the first in this series by James Pool.