The world shouts at us to look a certain way, dress a certain way, make a certain amount of money, eat a certain diet, drive a certain car and on an on it goes where it stops no one knows. I believe this is what Paul was talking about when he said, “Do not be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Phillips New Testament in modern English says it this way “Do not let the world squeeze you into its mold.” That is exactly what it attempts to do every second of the day too.
When you’re standing in line at the grocery patiently waiting for your turn just look at the magazines they have displayed. They will have one with the swimsuit model or the buff guy; you know the one, that guy with muscles that has muscles. Another one might have a super expensive car on the cover or maybe one covered in dollar signs telling you how much you’re going to need if you want to be successful. It’s all a lie designed to get us looking to the external rather than the internal.
According to the scriptures God defines success in a way unknown to the world. He tells us to be content with what we’ve got, seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you. The world tells us pursuing those things are the goal, but God says they are only a by product. The body, car, house and fame cannot bring real happiness. In fact Jesus told us “Happy or (blessed) are the poor in spirit, them that mourn, the meek, the hungry, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemaker and them that are persecuted for righteousness sake.”
You see Jesus understood something the world cannot and that is we can’t take any of these temporal things like looks and fame into eternity with us. Jesus always focused on the root of the issue. He knows if we can ever get our eyes opened to see the invisible by faith it will completely transform our value system. As this change within takes place priorities begin to be shifted around and what seemed so important before will be seen for what it really is, a counterfeit.
Helen H. Lemmel once wrote,
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Written by Louie
Putting first things first is immensely important. I remember a time when I started to think about what was a need and what was a want. When it comes down to the bare necessities, as someone once said, water, food, clothing and shelter would be needs don’t you think?
There was a time in my life when I didn’t have a job or any income at all, and I clearly remember sitting in my kitchen deciding what would have to be shut off first. Would it be the phone or the cable? From there it would have to be the electricity, I mean you have to have water, right? I thank God it never did come to that, but I did get some priorities in order that day.
Living like there was no tomorrow and eating, drinking and partying every night deceived me. I had a great income and never once stopped to think about what was most important or necessary in life. Losing my job, wife, friends and finally my mind, sort of had a way of clarifying a few things; maybe you can relate.
In Matthew 6 Jesus told us not to worry about what we would eat, drink or wear, but seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness. He said all of these other things would be added to us if we just did those two. It’s obvious that Jesus’ priorities lay in the Kingdom of his Father and everything else must take a back seat. Once again we tend to get caught up focusing on the temporal and visible while Jesus is looking toward that which is eternal and invisible. So glad he left us reminders of the eternal.
Jesus told us the kingdom was like a treasure hidden in a field. When the man found it he went and sold all he had to buy the field. Now that’s confidence in the worth of the treasure isn’t it? I mean he stands to end up completely broke if his hunch isn’t right. To him it is well worth it though; so he’s all in. This is exactly the way we are to see things when it comes to Jesus. He is worth everything we could ever gain in the here and now. Remember what Jesus told the man that built bigger barns? He said “what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and forfeit his own soul?”
Take a few minutes, if you will, to imagine what life would be like if we started to live it as though God’s promises were true. I mean what if we really, really didn’t have anything to worry about when it comes to our necessities? Can you imagine the reactions we would get if we were to stop living such materialistic lives? I’m not advocating that we all become Amish, but don’t we have enough stuff? I’ll finish with a couple statements from Paul. He said “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” He knew the secret to contentment with or without prosperity. His advice to Timothy was “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” We would do well to take this to heart.
Written by Louie