Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This Present Evil Age: Worldliness Part Two

by Michael Durham (listen to all four parts of this blog entry by downloading it in MP3 format)

How Does Worldliness Work?

The spirit of this present evil age permeates everything our human hands touch. It shouldn’t have sway over us, but it can. It works in accordance with our natural human natures, our personalities and dispositions. That is why it’s so believable! Its deception is so plausible, and we believe the lie!

I hope I’m not shocking you; I’m attempting to reveal and expose this. I believe every one of us have mindsets or belief systems that are, frankly, worldly. I might not even see them as worldly; I might even defend them thinking they are biblical! How can that be? Because worldliness always appeals to your fallen human nature in these four different ways:

1. It presents itself as being concerned for your welfare and provision.

It sounds so sensible – you must provide for you and your family, so good Christians work, burning both ends of the candle having no time for their families or the work of the church. Prayer meetings are missed because you must provide and the Sunday evening service must be missed because you must get up early and go to work. Mothers with young children forsake them and enslave themselves to a company and a boss in order to provide for themselves. And worldly wisdom will even quote the Bible defending it all, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Very good, spirit of the age! It is true that I am to provide for my family, but I do not trust that I am my family’s provider. It is also written, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out the mouth of God.” It is also written, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

It is the same spirit that whispers you must control your life, fix all of your problems, fix all the people in your little world, that says something to the effect of, “If it’s going to get done, it’s up to you.” That is the spirit of this present evil age.

It’s true that we are not to be lazy and not always looking to someone else to do our work for us. The Bible does say we are to bear our own burdens. But oh, the spirit of the present evil age, it will accentuate and emphasize the bearing of your own burdens. “You must rely on no one.” “Be your own person.” All of these things are of this present evil age.

1. It motivates you to promote yourself.

We assert ourselves so people will notice and appreciate us. We all do it to some degree. It manifests in many ways: the man who will not be involved in a project unless he leads the project; the woman who must have all the right clothes in all the latest fashions; the teenager who must be popular and in all the right cliques. It even works in the church with Christians who get involved in the work of the church so others can pay attention to their endeavors. They pray not to God but to the people who hear them. They love and care for others not because they really care, but because they want to bolster their reputations among the saints.

Are you offended when no one notices your endeavors or labors? Even slightly offended? Then you should know that the master you serve is not Christ, but the spirit of this present evil age.
Are you preoccupied with what others think of you? It’s the spirit of this present evil age.
Are you ever envious of the promotion of others? That’s the spirit of this present evil age.
It’s all worldliness. It is from these kinds of things we need our deliverance right here in this church! Don’t ever boast in this place – boast in the God who is working in us! Don’t ever forget, we need more deliverance ourselves.

What could you be if you, like Jesus, were concerned to promote only one Person, His Father! Why are you so preoccupied with yourself? Shouldn’t you be obsessed with others knowing Jesus? But how can you, with worldliness in your heart?

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