There's a story in the Bible I can't wrap my head around. It's when Jesus talks to the rich man who has kept the law all his life and tells him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor. Why would that do anyone any good? If I gave all my money to the poor then I would have nothing. Then I would be the charity case. How would that be helping the kingdom? The way I see it, God has blessed me financially because I follow the rules and keep His commands. And I can inspire others to keep the law by being a good example of what happens when you do. A nice house, the best clothes, a fast car. What better way to show others the benefits of following Christ? I really don't see the problem with prosperity and enjoying the pleasures that go with it. God doesn't want me to be unhappy.
Our Problem—We battle the world and worldliness.
The “world” represents people, religions, governments, or systems and values that oppose Christ. The world that rejects the truth of Christ is under the control or deception of the god of this world, the Devil (1 Jn. 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:4).
Though we're in the world, our battle is not to be like it. Worldliness means loving the values and pursuits of the world. It means gratifying and putting oneself first to the exclusion of God and His rule over our lives.
“Do not love the world…” it doesn't satisfy, nor will it last (1 Jn. 2:16-17).
“This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 Jn. 5: 4-5). God tells us to have faith, which sees what is eternal and lives for that. Faith focuses on Jesus to persevere (Heb. 12:1-2).
We overcome the world and worldliness through our faith. In faith we believe:
- In the work of Christ for us personally. Resist worldliness by focusing on Christ and His work and considering the world as dead to you. For it is “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” wrote Paul, “by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14; Heb. 12:1-2).
- Though we live in the world it is not our home. We are foreigners here and citizens of heaven. Therefore we are not to embrace the world's values. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom.12:2). Learn what pleases God and let that be what pleases you. “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” (2 Tim. 2:4).
- Christ is most important. Resist worldliness by setting your affections on Christ and the things that are important to God. Consider the Saviour who died for you and rose victorious over sin and death. (Col. 3: 1-3).
- Do not define yourself by, or boast in, anything you possess or accomplish in this world. Instead, identify with Christ and strive for His definition of greatness: the humble, the servant.
- Rely on God's grace to overcome worldly desires. Humbly seek from Him the desire and power to be godly in an ungodly world. (Ti. 2: 11-12).
- Remember, one day the world and everything in it will be destroyed (2 Pet. 3:10). Live for that which is eternal, not temporal (Heb. 11:26).