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Just passing through
- Jacob Ninan
One of the wars that go on in a believer's mind concerns the opposing pulls from God and the world. The battles concern daily choices we have to make. But the war itself is about where our heart lies. "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1Jn.2:15).
We may not be even aware of this ongoing war if we have compartmentalised God and this world separately. We may think we can give to God what belongs to Him, and to the world what we need to do as long as we are in the world. But the reality is that while we are in this world, Satan, the prince of this world, and his demons are constantly trying to draw us away from God by presenting many tantalising offers of glory, wealth and pleasure. Even if they don't manage to make us worship Satan (Lk.4:5-7), or sin (by yielding to him) in order to gain these advantages, they would be happy just to keep our attention away from God. As a result, our God compartment will ultimately get neglected as we get more and more engrossed with the world.
We may begin our Christian life with great zeal to seek God and His kingdom as our topmost priority (Mt.6:33). But then as time goes on and the pressures of 'real life' engage us we may begin to give in little by little, and then more and more.
But a spiritual war is going on! The lust of the flesh (craving for sensual gratification) and the lust of the eyes (greedy longings of the mind) and the pride of life (assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things) are really strong, and many times subtle, and we are constantly in danger of moving away from God (1Jn.2:16 Amp).
If we seek to have the best of both sides, our conflicts will be stronger, and the chances are that because of the sinful tendencies of our flesh we are likely to fall frequently. When we fall we also make the conflict worse, having also to deal with our guilt, shame, and loss of self respect, and to find our way back to God.
In the ultimate analysis we need to remember that we are only passing through this world, and our real citizenship is in heaven (Php.3:20). If what we treasure in our heart is earthly, we will be poor in eternity (Mt.6:19,20). But because earthly gains are tangible and their demands seem more immediate--we need to go up in our career, make more money, take care of our family, make life more comfortable, have vacations and entertainment--we are in danger of making our focus on the earth and neglecting our heavenly calling (He.3:1). Symptoms can be seen in less time for personal times with God, skipping church meetings for al kinds of excuses, resorting to human help first instead of God, planning more for earthly life than for God's calling or service, etc.
On the other hand, if we keep our mind fixed on God and strengthen ourselves regularly with His word and fellowship with other serious believers, our options will be clear whenever we are faced with a choice, and we will also have the ability to make the right choice.