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|Faithful to Christ||OCTOBER 14|
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE WORLD
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. 1 John 2:15.
What is the true use of the world? The various non-Christian cultures have, for the most part, concentrated on the present world. "Enjoy life and the world. Do not renounce it." At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who renounce the world and seek to escape from it. Monks sometimes emptied themselves of riches, supposedly also of outward pride. They sought to prove their triumph over what the world most prizes. Often they lost sight of Christ's love for the world. This devotion to piety excites our admiration. But it leaves little hope for the rest of mankind.
How shall we use the world? We must be superior not only to its evils but to its earthly values. There is a life that triumphs over the world, the flesh, and the devil. No doubt many who devote themselves to prayer and to meditation are pleasing to God. But there is no such thing as winning favors from God by such procedures.
We are to be free from the dominance of all earthly things. We are to rise all things to the glory of God. We are to be lord of all things, but slave to none. Whoever goes forth into life believing that salvation and righteousness will come by mere self-denial, giving up all natural things, will not find it. Christian sacrifice is always the service of love, love to Christ and to our fellow man. We deny ourselves and give ourselves for others as Christ did. Our true use of the world is not merely to rise above it, not chiefly to gain material wealth from it, but to love it as Christ did in order to save it.
We love the world of people because the Christian life is the only thing of real value. Leave out Christ, and there is no value, life, or future in the world. The meaning of life and the value of the world are expressed in Christ when He came to the earth.
Everything in the world was to be seen in its right relationship. Christ came to restore man to supreme value above things of earth. His ministry was one of reconciliation to God. We may amass great wealth. We may improve human conditions. All this is possible outside of Christ. But men are still lost. Christ loves the world in order to save it. That is our stand also.
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