Dear Father, thank you for all that you have done. Please grant me the wisdom to understand life is what I make of it. For this lesson seems the hardest to me. Please forgive me for I try to only ask for those things that are truly important. Thank you for all that you do. Please help me to share your love and devotion to others as you have done with me. Amen
Worldliness – The Majesty of Christ in Our Comparisons
Worldliness is simply focusing devotion on the things of the temporal world more than on Christ and His eternal Kingdom. Paul overcomes his worldliness when he puts Christ into perspective: “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).
Worldliness – Comparing Values
When it comes to worldliness, the concept of comparing the value of items is one that we use daily: the value of your car as compared to the value of the one the dealer is trying to sell you; the value of the higher priced home in the city versus the value of the home in the suburbs farther from work; or the value of education and experience versus an offer from a potential employer. It has been said that the value of anything is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it. This has certainly been proven true in the sports world with some players making millions of dollars a year.
Worldliness – What is True Wealth?
Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, had much upon which he placed value. He was a Hebrew of the tribe of Benjamin, very intelligent, highly educated, a religious leader, a Pharisee, and most likely a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling court of the Jews. As with most people in his position he would probably have been considered wealthy by the standards of his day. He was zealous for God, so much so that he worked tirelessly in an effort to stamp out those of “the way.” And of course, the statement found in Philippians 3:6 that has always amazed me, “. . .as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.” What a statement! Paul declared that he was blameless in keeping the Old Testament Law. Now, there is some disagreement as to exactly what Paul meant here, but regardless of one’s opinion as to his meaning, I am still impressed! Without a doubt, if Saul continued on this course, his fame and good name would have spread throughout the land, and his life would have been one of ease, comfort and prominence in Israel. But in Acts 9:3-5 we are told how one day on the road to Damascus Saul’s life changed forever.
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.”
Worldliness – Giving Up Our Little Treasures
Many people never become free to serve God because of worldliness — an unwillingness to compare the majesty of Jesus with the things of this world. It might be family ties, a good job, a long-term plan that leads to a great retirement, or even financial security. There are many things that in themselves are good and honorable. But when these temporal things are compared to the eternal Christ, just as Paul, we should be willing to count them as loss.
If we are going to be free to serve God we must be set free from worldliness and become keenly aware of the majesty of Christ in our comparisons. I urge you to choose that which has lasting value over those things whose value will soon fade away!