All too often we live for today and what we can get in the “here and now.” Eternity rarely ever enters our mind. We spend most of our time running after everything this world has to offer us. And it’s not even a drop in the bucket compared to eternity.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good . . . Overcome evil with good.” Do we even know what that means anymore? We need to stop letting the world own us by running after everything it offers to us while still thinking (if we are Christian) that we are serving God.
Also, James 4 is very clear about the things we need to avoid. Let’s take a look at what it has to say to us:
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit 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 miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Wrong motives; seeking after our own pleasures . . . . and it will destroy us in the end. We need to take seriously the words to humble ourselves before the Lord and draw near to Him so that He will draw near to us. Selfish motives kill our relationship with God.
James reminds us that we are all like a vapor that is here today and gone tomorrow. This life is fleeting for every single one of us. So who counts? Us (as in that great pursuit of everything we want) or God? As the reblogged post below by “The Daily Way” states: “Patterns of sin quickly take root and soon a stronghold for the enemy is established.” And it is those very strongholds that will eventually destroy us. Instead, as the writer states, “Make your time count for positive change in this world by embracing God’s values. Take time to study His Word and seek His wisdom” instead of being wise in our own eyes (which isn’t wisdom at all).
Proverbs 3:7 states: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”
‘Nough said . . . .
Photo credit here
God has wonderful plans for our lives. However, in order to experience these, we must learn to obey Him and not be drawn off course by the enemy’s schemes. For example, not only are we to be good stewards of our money, but we also need to be good stewards of the time we spend on earth.
It is amazing how much time we waste by filling our minds with thoughts that are far from what God wants us to think. Before we know it, we can become entranced by various media—radio, television, and movies—and begin to think that these have greater moral value than the truth of God’s Word.
The world’s ways are diametrically opposed to God’s way. The world screams, “Look out for yourself!” God says, “Put others first.”
It should come as no surprise that God’s principles are in direct opposition to those of the world. Nor…
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