“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).
Do you think you cannot overcome the world? Do you think it is too hard to make it in this fallen world, to survive and keep your faith? You can. Jesus tells us we can overcome this world if we believe in Him.
The world is a hard place to live in. Sin is normal. Society is falling apart all around us. The government has taken God out of the process and people are mean to Christians and believe us to be a group of people that don’t fit in the “new” world’s rules and demeanor.
We are commanded to not love the world or things of the world. This can be difficult, but it’s about action and attitude to overcome the world. To overcome the world we need to put Jesus first in attitude and action. We live in a fallen world that is ruled by Satan. He has all sorts of things in his bag of tricks and trades to ply toward Christians to distract us, and to try to draw us away from our walk with Christ.
What is your priority? Do you love things in this world more than Jesus? Do you love your car, your hobbies, your relationships with others, etc. more than Jesus? Do you focus on other things more than you do Jesus, putting them before worshiping and loving the Lord? If you do, you need a change in direction and focus toward our Lord and Savior. He should be our number one priority, the first thing we think of in the morning and the last thing we should think about when going to bed.
It is fine to have hobbies and to enjoy life for Jesus wants us to enjoy our life, but problems can arise if you put the things of this world before the Lord. Do you pick up your Bible and read it or do you instead turn on the television to watch your favorite show? If you do, you put the world before God. Did you skip church to watch Sunday football? If you did, you put God in second place, not first. You get it? Anything that comes before your Lord is what is important to you. If you put God first always, then you have proven that the Lord is always your first priority.
Remember that our God is a jealous. God wants our full attention on Him and not anything else. When the Holy Spirit puts the things of God on your heart, you need to listen and obey. If you have a tug on your heart to study the Word, read a Christian book or participate in a church outreach, you should choose to listen to the Holy Spirit and obey instead of doing other things that puts Jesus out of being your first priority.
The world is full of daily distractions meant to pull us away from our Savior. We need to be careful and conscience of these distractions and put God first in our daily lives. Does this mean we don’t watch our favorite football team play, or go out and have dinner with friends, or participate in our hobbies? No, but your attitude and actions should be toward the Lord as your first priority—when faced with a decision of distraction or God. The world will want you to put God out of first place, but you need to recognize and resist this pull from the world.
We need to be able to separate the evils of the world from the godly things of our walk with Jesus, to ensure Jesus is our first priority in life. Not everything in this world is evil, but Satan will try to use the world and our inherent weaknesses to tempt us to stray from our walk with Jesus, to separate us from our first priority—our Savior. He does this by tempting us with the things in the world that are evil and ungodly but are tempting to us, nonetheless. Things such as lustful temptations, New Age spiritualism, conforming to what society now accepts as normal like gay marriage, abortion, etc., Satan, will use our weaknesses against us to keep us from putting Jesus first. He works every angle of our weaknesses to get us to be worldly and stray from the teachings and commands of Jesus.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:2-5)
We can overcome the world by putting Jesus first. If we follow the teachings and commands put forth in the Bible, when we are tempted by Satan and the world we can resist and overcome the world, and the wiles Satan tries to use against us to separate us from our Lord and Savior.
If you are a Christian but are living in a worldly manner, now is the time to turn your back on the worldly life and turn your face toward Jesus again. Jesus is the way, the truth, and life. Focus on God and His Word. The Lord wants us to enjoy life, but not to the extent that we put God in second place. The Holy Spirit will guide you to know what things in life are worldly (evil) and what things in the world are acceptable to God to keep you on track. The Holy Spirit will not lead you astray but will help you to stay on the path of righteousness to eternity, to keep Christ as your first priority.
If you’re not a follower of Christ, you live in the world and are of the world. Your focus is on the things of the world and not of God. Your focus may not be on evil things of the world, but nonetheless your focus is not on Jesus as your priority. Your focus may be your career when it should be on Jesus. You may idolize people, value material possessions, or place hobbies first in your free time when you should focus on Jesus.
When you turn to Jesus and become a follower of Christ, your attention will turn to Jesus and eternity with Him in heaven. Your old priorities will become second to your relationship with Jesus. Following Jesus does not mean giving up on aspirations or hobbies or whatever, but you will want to put Jesus first and foremost in your daily routine and thoughts. Once you do this you will want to live for Jesus. You will want to do His will for you and do things for Him and turn from you old ways.
Having Jesus first and foremost in your heart and mind in this fallen world is a blessing. Satan will try to get you away from Jesus by tempting you with the old worldly things that you used to do and put first, as well put in front of you new temptations of the world based on your weaknesses. Satan is a sly being and will want you to believe the evil is good and Jesus is not real or not fun; resist him. Society in general has turned from God and Satan wants you to conform to the ways of the world. Resist him; know that the new norms in society (gay marriage, legal marijuana, abortion, etc.) are not of God.
To know what is of God you must read His Word and His guidance as put forth in the Bible. The Bible is our playbook on how to live, love, and survive in this fallen world. Living in a fallen world is difficult, but with the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and the love of Jesus for us, we can survive and come out of this world with eternity in heaven as our reward. It is a difficult walk at times, especially when faced with temptations, but the journey is well worth the effort.
Take note that the relationship walk with Jesus takes great work and effort on our part. We must be active and participate in what the Lord wants us to do, and how to live and love. Our relationship with Jesus in not an autopilot effort, it requires us to participate fully with open hearts and minds to conform to what Jesus has for us and wants from us as His followers. We cannot expect Jesus to drag us through life for eternity with him. We must walk with Him and grow with Him in our relationship daily to give us His heart to love others.
Friends, don’t conform to the things of the world. Do not idolize things in this world. Focus on Jesus and idolize and worship Jesus. Only through Jesus can you have eternal life with Him in heaven. The world will not do anything to get you into heaven. The things of the world will only lead to a dead end of death and separation from Jesus. Focus on Jesus and put the world behind you in your thoughts and actions. Remember, the world will pass away one day, but belief in Jesus is heaven for eternity.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
All Scripture quoted is taken from the King James Version of the Bible.