20
Nov
08

Do not love the world

My most competent blog master Jonathan Howe is traveling today; and I did not get my blog to him before he hit the road.  He begged me to put it in his hands last night, and I did not.  That being the case, it may be late in the day Thursday before you read today’s entry.

Thank you, Jonathan, for your tireless effort.  Your service is a blessing.  And, such is the life of a busy pastor and a travelling blog master.

So, why does the Bible call God’s people to a life of humility, brokenness and contrition?

Yesterday we learned that God calls us to repentance because pride has its price.  Pride is expensive.  Pride will cost you.  Pride places man at odds with God, and whenever man is pitted against God, God always wins.  Pride will ultimately cost you your life.

Today I want us to consider another purpose for a call to humility: to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord.
The world screams for attention.  The world begs to be worshipped.  Man is what he worships, and that is why so many Americans are selfish, insolent, rude, greedy and childish.  We either worship ourselves, our children or our culture.

Psalm 115 teaches reinforces the truth we are what we worship:

2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
5 They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
6 They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
7 They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
8  Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.

Psalm 115:2-8

God’s continual call to humility is the antidote to the worship of the world.  God’s continual call to brokenness is the answer to every appealing and misleading thing the world offers us.

This is what John had to say about the world:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

1 John 2:15-17

John builds a striking three-point argument on why we should not love the world:

  1. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (15b).
  2. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world (16).
  3. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (17).

James espouses a similar warning about loving the world:

4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

This is James’ three-point argument:

  1. Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God (4a)?
  2. Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (4b)
  3. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us” (5)?

The world is like a magnet; it is constantly drawing man into its vacuous hole of depravity, lostness and emptiness.  Humility before God is the only answer.  Brokenness before the One who made you is the only way out.  That is why James concludes his argument against the cravings of the world with these imperatives.

First, James says God gives us what we need:

But he gives more grace.

James 4:6a

When we submit to God He gives us more grace, all the grace necessary for life.

Then James reminds us of this incontrovertible truth:

Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6b

Finally, James applies his teaching with ten imperatives, and I have listed each of them separately for emphasis:

Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Be wretched
and mourn
and weep.
Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

James 4:7-10

We are called to humble ourselves before the Lord so that the world and its fleeting desires do not appeal to us.

One more lesson on humility tomorrow and we head off in a new direction the week of Thanksgiving.

Peace be with you.

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3 Responses to “Do not love the world”


  1. 1 Lee
    November 21, 2008 at 2:21 am

    Searching’s comment Monday, your blog today and your lesson Wed. night (everything we have belongs to God) reminded me of a children’s story called “The Broken Promise,” written by my favorite apologist, Ravi Zacharias. In brief, two children were looking with their father at a small collection of treasures collected by their family. Some had been handed down through the generations. Some were collected by their father. In kind, the children asked if they could start their own collection. He agreed, but reminded them their collection did not have to cost a lot of money; it could just represent what reminded them of happy memories.

    The boy decided to collect marbles, since playing marbles was what he liked to do best. The little girl decided to collect candy, since she liked candy the best. After some time, they became envious of each other’s collection and decided to make a trade. Honestly, the girl brought all of her candy to the “trading table.” The boy withheld some of his marbles, believing he could seize the opportunity to enjoy possessing both. The trade took place without suspicion, other than the father’s recognition the boys jar seemed emptier than he remembered it. The father decided to wait to mention it to see if his son would realize what he did was wrong.

    The boy could not sleep that night in fear his sister had withheld some of her candy. The next morning, he approached his father to discuss his concern. His father replied by asking if his son had given all of his marbles in the exchange. The boy answered honestly. The father replied, “But what makes you think (your sister) has deceived you? Isn’t it because you did not keep your promise to her that you began to doubt (her) word?” The boy replied, “Does God always keep his promises?” “Of course,” the father replied. “Jesus has promised that if we ask Him to come into our hearts, He does. You will sometimes wonder if Jesus has kept His promise to be with you every moment. That’s when you should ask yourself if you love Him with all your heart. You see, if you do not keep your promises to others, you will think they will not keep their promises to you either. So next time you pray, make sure you keep your word to God.” (Mark 12:30-31)

  2. November 21, 2008 at 10:15 am

    “God’s continual call to humility is the antidote to the worship of the world… Brokenness before the One who made you is the only way out.”

    Great points/reminders. The term self-made man, although rightly admirable if God is given proper credit, is not always a compliment in light of scripture is it? Our country is most guilty of this hypocrisy, I think. I have been guilty myself at times. We really are spoiled in so many ways. ‘Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way…I can’t wait to look in the mirror…’. You get the idea:) That’s why the topic is so challenging or for many, uninteresting; it is the most challenging call on each of us; it pricks too close and is too personal. It affects possibly how you just acted 2 minutes ago or yesterday or will act 5 minutes from now. I know I am inferior to speak on the topic. It is tough to receive His grace after you know you have just made a fool of yourself (misrepresenting Christ) or been insensitive to someone or barreled along with your own agenda at the expense of those you love most or least(which is another issue altogether).

    Good timing for me as we head into the holidays with pleasant and not so pleasant relatives. Also the busyness of the season poses a challenge. We’ll all be tested. All the more reason to pray for and encourage one another as we strive to rely on Him.
    Ecc. 4:9-10
    (I am making sure to patiently type in my info before ‘submitting’ this time.) Blog master I am not. A blessed weekend to all! Great blog.

  3. 3 Marie
    November 21, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Ryan,

    Since you began the series on humility, I have been asking myself, “Do I know even ONE humble person?”

    I have decided that I know ONE humble person. This person is humble 100% of the time. This person is not trying to be humble — he IS humble.

    This man lives in a very unpretentious house and drives a very unpretentious car. Both meet his needs very adaquately, but are very non-descript. I may have seen him a time or two in my life in a suit and tie, and that would have been at church. Most of the time he is wearing a very non-descript shirt and pants.

    I have never heard this man talking about what he saw on TV, what he read in the paper, or any favorite sports team. I do not know that this man has ever volunteered to do a job at church. I imagine that he very meekly accepts any assignment that he is asked to do. If he looks around and sees a need that ought to be met, he meets it. I don’t know that he has ever asked for help for something for himself. I doubt if this man has ever pushed his point of view on another person.

    If I walked up to this man today and told him that I thought he was the most humble person I had ever known, he would blush and say it wasn’t true.

    I also know other people who STRIVE to be humble. They work hard at it. They take great pride in being humble. Is that really humbleness?

    Before I wrote this, I tried to think back through all the people in my family, all the people I go to church with, all the people I come in contact with on a daily basis, and I could only come up with one name. I wish I could publish his name, but that would not be fair to him.
    I just felt like I owed it to him, though, to say these things about him publicly. May God richly bless him.


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