There are times you encounter things in life you just can’t shake. As I exited the church I was attending recently, the pastor and a man who had identified himself as the head elder were standing at the door, ostensibly to say goodbye to people as they were leaving. As we approached, I heard them conversing somewhat passionately about… the NFL playoffs.
That may seem innocent enough, but it has been gnawing at me ever since. I suppose it was their way of letting off steam after putting in their obligatory sixty-five minutes of church for the week. To me, it was a picture of everything wrong with Christianity in a five-second window. We are so enraptured by the world that we no longer understand what it means to live a sacred and devoted life.
Compounding my reaction was the fact I’d been listening to multiple sermons focused on living a devoted life. If we want to live like Jesus and reflect His life for all to see, we have to feast on Him and His Word. Everything we consume influences who we become. If we constantly feed on the entertainment, news, and social structures of this world, we will live a life that looks like everyone else. What comes out of our mouths reveals what we love most. In short, we prove we love the world more than we love the Lord.
Just as the New Testament Church was instructed to abstain from food offered to idols, so too must we, in our modern age, refrain from indulging in practices that are not honoring to our holy God (Acts 15:28-29). The movies we watch, the music we listen to, and the entertainment in which we indulge should all be to feed our minds in ways that glorify God and increase our knowledge of Him. I understand if we take this to its limit, then we are going to be labeled as fanatics. That’s okay with me. I’d much rather people see me as a Jesus fanatic than as a lover of this world.
For those who think I may be taking this a bit too far, remember Jesus said we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We will love the one and hate the other. So which master will you love, the world or Jesus? The apostle John reiterated this teaching when He said if we love the things of this world, then we do not love God (1 John 2:15).
This isn’t an easy teaching, and it’s as difficult for me to hear as I’m sure it is for you. Consuming our lives with nothing but Jesus and His Word seems a bridge too far. After all, didn’t God create us to be happy and enjoy all this life has to offer? Actually, no, He did not. While you may hear that kind of teaching in many so-called churches today, the fact is God created us to worship and glorify Him. That’s it. We’ve been so co-opted by the systems of this world that few remember that truth. I encourage you to read the Bible. See for yourself.
If we are to live a devoted life, a life lived for Jesus and nothing else, we must immediately begin shedding all the worldly entrapments we’ve allowed to encumber us. None of it matters in eternity, and none of it brings glory to our Creator. Our words, thoughts, and actions should all be to glorify Him. We should spend our time only in ways honoring to Him. If we aren’t living our lives in devotion to Him, then we must recognize our love is for the world and not for Jesus. We’ve grown soft and lazy, lovers of this world. Our Lord is returning soon, perhaps very soon. What will you be found doing when He returns?