Life’s Greatest Influences Day 3: The Influence of the World
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2, ESV)
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8, ESV)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:15-17, ESV)
As I sit here today, the influence of the world has left me feeling sick and tired—longing for the return of our Savior. There are so many negative things that daily influence our service and devotion to Jesus—things Satan has orchestrated to distract us and hopefully render us useless for Christ. The illusions and fantasies with which he fills our minds can discourage us and make us weary; that’s where I am today.
Between the numerous issues surrounding the virus, the unrest in the Middle East, the political chirping, and divisions among friends, family and the church, it’s easy to see why we are so discouraged at times. Then we have the saturation of our culture with sexuality, pornography, and racial tension. Television and movies have sunk to a new low with mature ratings, and people spend countless hours killing virtual enemies behind gaming controls. People are driven by the dollar and the American Dream to have more, and they work more than ever to acquire the next big thing.
This is just the tip of the iceberg with the various sinful enticements thrown at us each day. How are we to live here and not be influenced by these things? The impact of the world hits all of us to some degree, and will continue to until we are called home to glory. But how do we get through today, and the next day, and then the one after that? Is there any hope for us to live godly lives in an ungodly world?
While Christianity is growing in many parts of the world, the number of Christians in the US in on the decline. Considering the negative influences in our culture today, it should come as no surprise that more and more people are abandoning faith in Jesus and the regular rhythm of church attendance. Our faith is under fire and there is no doubt that the mastermind behind it all is Satan. He longs to see the Church fail and people turn away from Christ.
But despite all this negativity we live with each day, we don’t have to throw in the proverbial towel or live without hope. The influence of the world has always been a challenge for the believer, and so we can press forward, knowing we are not alone in the challenges we face. Our brothers and sisters before us faced their own set of oppositions, and those who come after us will face the same daunting pressures inflicted by the world, the flesh and the devil.
It helps to know we are not alone in this, and that the Spirit Himself walks with us each day, calling us to lean on Him and the hope found in Jesus.
God has not left us without instruction and encouragement; they are found in His Word and in the presence of the Holy Spirit—necessary tools to conquer the enemy of this world. In order to be victorious, though, we must surrender to Christ, looking to Him for guidance and help as we navigate the influences that seek to destroy us. Hold fast, brothers and sisters, knowing that steadfastness leads to godliness—our ultimate goal.