Between the Master and the World!
The ‘world’ that is around us is Satan’s arm to influence the hearts and lives of people. He is the lord of the ‘world’ (Luke 4:7; 2 Corinthians 4:4) and works to portray his enmity to God and all God’s people. He wants to control the lives of God’s children and influence them to live in a worldly manner. He uses his entire arsenal to enslave us so that we would no longer create any spiritual impact in his world for God. He uses the same techniques against us which he once used against our Master (Luke 4:1-13). So let’s beware, lest he defeats us, neutralizes our testimonies and tarnishes our Christ-like image.
The ‘world’ is a systemic entity that exists in the hearts, minds, paradigms, patterns, priorities, likes, dislikes, philosophies, goals, aspirations, strategies and programs of the natural man who lives on the face of the earth. It spreads over all the political, economic, psycho-social, biological, educational, technological, commercial and religious arenas of human life and activity in covert and overt manner. It penetrates into all human thinking and decision making. Its outward expression is reflected in materialism. Its focus is on the temporal. Its ultimate objective is destruction of the soul. It sells ‘free’ tickets for the vanity fair, but hides the fact that there is no exit once you enter.
In the world, but not of the world!
It is interesting to note that God has placed His children in the world controlled by Satan. God wants them to here to testify to His power and victory He grants His children over Satan and his world. Our place in the world is portrayed in the Bible in three distinct ways. They are:
1. The Christian is from the world, but he is not of the world (John 17: 6, 14 & 16)
2. The Christian is taken out of the world, but is kept in the world to represent God (John 17: 18)
3. The Christian is in the world, but is separated from the world (2 Timothy 4:10, James 1:27, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 4:5 & 17)
This world with its systems is a comprehensive way of thinking, attitude and action promoted and controlled by Satan. Its corrupt system of iniquity is portrayed by Satan’s very character. It is reflected through rebellion, corrupt values, sinful cravings, filthy culture, ungodly traditions, destructive reforms, hypocritical religiosities, secular humanism, ambitious business ideologies, self-righteous social actions and moral degradation.
The world system uses all its tactics to tempt Christian disciples to its parlors. It makes its temporal reward systems so attractive as to manipulate the disciple to drift away from the narrow way which is the way of the cross (Matthew 16:24). It tries to attract the disciple to enjoy life of both worlds, just as it tempted Gehazi, Achen, Demas, Judas Iscariot, Cain and Balaam and eventually destroyed their lives. Today the world and Satan strive to capture God’s children of all age groups, and most especially the young disciples.
Claims: Christ’s or the world’s!
The claims of Christ on the life of a disciple are an indicator of his love for the Master (John 21:15). The cross of Christ demands from the disciple all that he is and has. He is challenged to forsake all to follow the Lord Jesus who forsook all in Heaven to come down to this earth to die for him (Luke 14:25-35). A true disciple’s loyalty is primarily and ultimately to Jesus Christ, His cross and His kingdom. Naturally then the disciple can no longer be loyal to this ‘world’ which is inimical to Christ. The disciple is challenged to show his love to Jesus Christ by making Him the highest priority in life. So he rejects bluntly and boldly all the approaches and styles of the world which come from Satan, its lord.
It is the affinity a person has for the world and its materialistic realm that is called the ‘love of the world’. The disciple is mandated to prove with his life how he rejects the love for the world (James 4:4). The ‘world’ will always try to lure him to itself by offering to make him rich, popular, prominent and prestigious. But it would be utterly impossible for the true disciple to live in love with the world and what if offers. He would be ever careful to keep away from all subtle ways of the world to make him love the world. He would refuse to drink from its mirages and broken cisterns or eat at its gourmets which would make him spiritually sick. The true disciple would have no desire for the entertainment and intellectualism that the world offers. The world’s rewards are what it gives us after draining us of all our energies to promote its own cause through employment or business. But the cross of Christ demands that these energies ought to be used for the Lord and His cause so that we can receive our rewards in Heaven.
The true disciple recognizes the tactics used by the world to lure him into its pathways. He will have to develop the spiritual capacity to keep away from the world’s strategies to take him away from the narrow path of discipleship. He resents world’s attractions which try to work through his five senses to slowly, but steadily make him its slave. The powerful persuasions of the world mesmerize the disciple to control his thoughts, aspirations and priorities after the temporal glories the world offers. He resists these influences of the world in the power of the Spirit of God. He prays to God to reveal to his heart the deceptions of worldliness that try to creep into his life. God will then give him the grace to distinguish between the spiritual and the carnal, the temporal and the eternal, the earthly and heavenly and the worldly and supernatural.
The disciple makes cardinal choices which will portray him as the true follower of Jesus Christ. It takes several challenging forms.
a. He blatantly disregards the fear and apprehension that the world will call him a ‘religious fanatic’ and a person of ‘strange character’ because he rejects the intelligent and profitable avenues the world offers to get riches, recognition, popularity, prominence and prestige.
b. He resists the temptation to live for the world’s opinions, traditions, public recognition and appreciation at any cost.
c. He willingly suffers rejection, loss, reproach and ridicule from the world for resenting opportunities to get the world’s acceptance.
d. He bluntly refuses to be controlled with materialistic and filthy lucre, but deliberately chooses to live by faith, believing that his Master will meet all his needs.
e. He will not give the world opportunity to claim that it made him rich, but live contended with what God gives him daily.
f. He is unwilling to follow the philosophies and strategies of the successful people of this world, but instead live as a fool of Jesus Christ, never wanting worldly success and prosperity.
g. He refuses to go after the attractions of the vanity fair to quench his inner cravings, but solely lean on the Spirit of God to satisfy his every craving.
h. He has no desire for public praise from the world, but craves to live in humility and brokenness.
i. He uses all his treasures, talents and time for the cause of Christ.
j. He does nothing to promote his self-esteem or be a smart person.
k. He has no craving for the comforts and luxuries of the world, and willingly chooses to live in austerity.
l. It suffices him to have sufficient to eat and drink and purposely keeps away from amassing wealth for a bright future.
m. He rejects the world’s avenues to pamper the self through rest, leisure and pleasure.
n. He deliberately chooses a lifestyle to deny himself of all that the self can rightfully enjoy in this world.
A Revolutionary Life