This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at http://www.dtbm.org/
Live for What Is Eternal
As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you live for what is eternal!
FRIDAY: Are You a Worldly Person?
“… Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever … wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God …” (James 4:4, Emphasis added).
In Revelation 18 we also find that there are seven elements of the worldly system that Jesus will bring to an end. This is a cause for rejoicing, as they will no longer cause earth dwellers to ignore Him. The Lord will remove everything that has distracted people from looking at Him. To identify current dangers, traps, and snares, we will examine what the Lord will end. Here are the elements that worldliness is built upon, and thus what disrupts our fellowship with the Lord.
A worldly person’s identity is found in this world, and not in heaven: “Thus with violence the great city
A worldly person finds escape through amusements, entertainments, and pleasure-seeking: “The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore” (18:22a). A worldly person has to be amused. Do you know what amusement means? “Muse” means to meditate, so “amuse” means “without meditation.” One of the fastest growing sectors of our economy and our culture is amusement: parks, games, arcades, and movies. People no longer want to think, they just want to be carried along by the action and excitement. Society has become so captivated by movies, music, and all else in the entertainment field that they never engage with the living and abiding Word of God. But God is going to turn it all off, and there will be no more distractions.
A worldly person uses work, career accomplishments, and even daily life as a way out of spiritual responsibilities: “No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore …” (18:22b). Christians act the same worldly way when they say, “I don’t have time for that because I have to work” or “I don’t have time to lead my family or read the Bible.” By the sweat of our brow, and diligent labor, we are supposed to earn money to support our family. If we don’t, the Scriptures say that we are worse than an infidel—an unbeliever. Yet, we must not be so wound up in our work that we are inconsistent in worship, and miss the joys of fellowship. It is a sign of worldliness when our career, plans, finances, work schedule, recreation, and entertainment make us so busy that we infrequently engage with the people of God. Even the needs of daily life, such as food and housing, can keep some people away from heavenly living. But God will stop the cycle of life for all earth dwellers.
A worldly person is tied to the technology, science, and knowledge of this world—and not the next: “The light of a lamp shall not shine on you anymore …” (18:23a). Such a person constantly looks at the Bible through science rather than looking at science through the Bible. The Bible has always communicated the basic principles of hydrology, astrophysics, the rotation of the earth, and the geodesy-balancing of the continents, but the sciences are just now catching up with the Bible. In the industrialized world there has been a blind acceptance and intoxication of humanity by technological convenience. But God will soon cut short that technology.
A worldly person is tied to social life, party life, the calendar, and holidays: “… The voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore” (18:23b). This is the person who lives for the weekend. He or she goes from one social event to another because life represents an endless party. Life is more than identifying with this culture and its amusements and entertainment. There is so much more God wants us to know. That is why He lets us see that when He strips away these things, the socialites and partygoers will have nothing left. So they will weep and howl and cry out. But God will stop their partying, and that is all they had to live for.
A worldly person is tied to finances, wealth, and possessions: “… Your merchants were the great men of the earth …” (18:23c). Our society makes gods of the millionaires and billionaires of this world. These earth dwellers find their greatness in money and belongings. They live to acquire and hold and enjoy things. But God is going to erase all the worldly person’s assets.
If your assets were erased, what would you have left that really mattered? You would have the results of what you have invested in finances and time for Christ. You would have the opportunity, without the baggage of things, to go forward in His kingdom.
A worldly person is intoxicated by the world: “… By your sorcery all the nations were deceived” (18:23d). The end of this verse speaks of drugs and sorcery, which can include alcohol as well as drug-induced witchcraft. But there are also people who are intoxicated by the world itself. They can’t understand, and don’t care, about the gospel. But God is going to bring an end to this familiar world.
What will the earth really be like when God pulls the plug? In Revelation 18:23a, we find some amazing words: “The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore ….” In twenty-first century terms, this verse says the power grid will be shut down. It says that no power, no electricity, and no technology that uses electricity will be running. Revelation 18 marks the end of the world as we know it. According to the Word of God, that will not happen for at least seven years from now. The world that ends in this chapter is a highly technological world that has some type of cashless society. This would require well-functioning computers, or something beyond computers that we don’t even know about yet.
Although there is much more that I could say on this, I don’t want you to miss the point of today’s lesson. And that is to examine yourself in the light of Scripture to see whether any of these descriptions of a worldly person are common in your own life. If you feel convicted by the Holy Spirit, you need to know this truth: “… You are slaves to the one whom you obey …” (Romans 6:16). But you are not without hope.
Through Christ’s empowerment, you can break any bondage that manifests itself in a love for the world and all that is in it! The cure begins with the antidote of contentment, which we’ll administer in tomorrow’s lesson. So take heart, for relief is on the way!
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