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Friendship with the World

The Scriptures teach us that friendship with the world is enmity toward God. The way in which we spend our time, treasure, and talent here on earth determines whether or not we truly understand the meaning of this sobering truth.
by Lorraine E. Espenhain | Source: Catholic.net

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." [1 Jn 2:15]

When the Apostle John wrote these instructions, he was not counseling those in Christ to despise the people of this world; rather, he was instructing us to reject the principles, attitudes, priorities, etc., of the unbelieving world around us.

Unfortunately, many who call themselves Christians do not fully understand what it means to be separated from this world and its priorities. When 95% of a professing Christian’s time is spent talking about, dreaming about, thinking about, or vigorously pursuing money, vacations, jobs, houses, boats, stock investments, new cars, and other pleasures which money can buy, with little or no attention given to eternal matters and the Kingdom of God, something is sorely amiss in that individual’s ‘walk’ with Christ. When 95% of a person’s spare time is spent watching television, surfing the Internet, playing computer games or golf, or pursuing other recreational pursuits without so much as a minute dedicated to using his or her time, treasure, or talent for the Kingdom of God, it’s time to make some major adjustments.

Our Heavenly Father, through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, desires to wean us from this world and its deceptive priorities. To wean means to withdraw a person by degrees from habits, objects of affection, occupations, etc., by substituting some other interest, namely, Christ and His Kingdom. If this is the case, then why are so few professing Christians being weaned from this world and all of its priorities? The reason is simple. If we want to be sensitive and yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, then we must be willing to sow to that same Spirit in our daily lives as well. Sowing to the Spirit means doing those things in our lives that will profit, nurture, build up, edify, and strengthen us spiritually, such as Bible reading, meditation, prayer, reading good Catholic books, attendance at Mass, etc. These are all things which draw us closer to God. The closer we draw to God, the more we become filled with His Spirit and the more our priorities begin to line up with His priorities. The more time I spend studying and meditating on the Holy Scriptures, the more insignificant my own wants and desires become. Instead of crying out to God for a house or other material object, I find myself crying out for wisdom, understanding, knowledge, discernment, etc. - treasures that a man can take with him when he leaves this world. But when we ignore these disciplines, and choose to spend our time doing other things which don’t profit us spiritually, the exact opposite happens. We end up ‘starving the Spirit,’ and feeding our flesh and its deceptive desires instead. I am absolutely convinced that this is the number-one reason for the worldliness and misplaced priorities which have infiltrated the Church over the years. You show me an individual whose focus is on the things of this world, and I’ll show you an individual who has no prayer life and spends no time in the study of God’s written Word. It’s as simple as that.

It’s time for many in the Church to let go of their love of this world and to truly start living their lives in the light of eternity. If it doesn’t profit you or someone else spiritually, don’t waste your time with it. If it isn’t going to advance God’s Kingdom, thrust it behind you and search for something that will. Move on to those activities that will bring blessings and rewards in eternity. Stop wasting time, treasure, and talent on those activities which only bring pleasure and rewards in this world, which is passing away.

The ways in which we spend our time, treasure, and talent here and now accurately reflect the place Christ and His Kingdom have in our hearts. They also reflect whether or not the love of the world is still in us. This is not something to be taken lightly, for Saint James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has warned that "...friendship with the world [and its priorities] is hatred toward God. Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world [and its priorities] becomes an enemy of God." [Jas 4:4].

The only thing we can take with us when we leave this world is a life that was lived for the glory of God. To the extent that we live that life is to the extent we will depart from this world in genuine friendship with God. Anything less than this is enmity, brothers and sisters, and enmity with God is never rewarded...

...only punished.

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Post a Comment
Published by: Patty
Date: 2011-10-13 20:21:34
Tonight, before reading this article, God showed me that I must ask him to reveal any area of my life that shows a friendship with this world. My heart is longing for deeper relationship with God. This article confirms what I was shown by Him. Knew I had to fast and pray for a period of time and this is to be my focus, however, I was thinking of earthly blessings when in reality it should be heavenly blessings as your article pointed out. So glad I read it before I begin my fast and prayer time tomorrow. Thank you for making it available to read on the web. Blessings from God above to you.

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