The world in which we live is under a divine curse and its days are numbered. By world, I do not mean the earth, though it too will one day be destroyed by fire as it once was by water, but by world I mean the cosmos of which every living being is a part: the political, religious, educational, cultural, socio-economic multi-faceted existence as we know it on planet earth. It is simply called “the world,” and the aged Apostle declared that it is passing away, with all of its lust (desires); and in the light of the brevity of life and the fleeting nature of the cursed cosmos, John the beloved says we should not, as believers, be in love with this waning world.
Yet, it’s a challenge, daily, moment by moment, not to be! Its sometimes-dazzling sights and sounds, its intoxicating allurements, its heady heights of pleasure, popularity and power are a constant pull upon the “flesh” that is common to all the offspring of Adam.
None of us can live aloof from the power of the pull of the cosmos. Eve, deceived by the Serpent, first opened the door to it when she saw and ate of a tree “desired to make one wise.” Jesus was subject to severe satanic solicitations appealing to the lust of the flesh, the pride of life and the lust of the eyes having been led of the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where our Lord fasted 40 days and 40 nights before quoting three Old Testament passages to ward off the Devil and his deviant deceptions designed to do to Jesus what he succeeded in doing to our first parents in the garden. He failed of course, for Jesus is God and though the temptation through these three avenues, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life in which He was tempted in all points like as we are yet remaining without sin, was valid and the test was real, Jesus could not have yielded to lust for His blood was sinless and His nature was divine for He was God in flesh.
Ours is neither (sinless, divine) thus the warning “Flee youthful lusts.” (2 Tim. 2:22). So, D.L. Moody, great evangelist of yesteryear who shook two continents for Christ with his thunderous preaching of God’s Word said, “The churches are full of men and women who have no power at all. Where did they lose it? It was when they formed an alliance with the world. I would rather be alone with God than be with the whole world.”
Wm Wordsworth, American poet: “The world is too much with us: late and soon; getting and spending, we lay waste our power.”
And, speaking of our relationship with the world system in which we live and move, the late Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee wrote: “We do not become pilgrims until we become strangers.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)
C.H. Spurgeon: “Most of us are vastly inferior to the early Christians, who, as I take it, were persecuted because they were thoroughly Christians. We are not persecuted because we are hardly Christians (in practice) at all.” In other words, Spurgeon, speaking 150 years ago, was saying that professing Christians of his day were enjoying far too much a love affair with the world, against which John the Apostle warned in I John 2:15-17. If that were true in the latter part of the 19th century, how much more so today!
T.S. Eliot, world renowned poet who professed orthodox Christianity in the latter part of his life, wrote in “Men Who Turn From God:”
“O weariness of men who turn from God to the grandeur of your mind and the glory of your actions, to arts and inventions and daring enterprises, to schemes and human greatness thoroughly discredited, binding the earth and water to your service, exploiting the seas and developing the mountains, dividing the stars to common and preferred, engaged in devising the perfect refrigerator, engaged in working out a rational morality, engaged in printing as many books as possible, plotting the happiness and flinging empty bottles, turning from your vacancy to fevered enthusiasm for nation or race or what you call humanity; though you forget the way to the Temple, there is One who remembers the way to your door: life you may evade, but Death you shall not. You shall not deny the Stranger.”
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, 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 forever.” (I John 2:16,17)