16 Aug What If I Enjoy The World More Than God?
In this day and age, people are all seeking ways to find pleasures in an attempt to decompress or escape from their reality for awhile. And in fact, God is very willing to allow His children leisure time to relax and have fun. However, we often go out of control when we start to enjoy our time in the world more than our time spent with God. This will either cause believers to have a sense of guilt and accusation within, or start to fall into deeper temptations. But this is a very real situation that every one of us will experience and I find myself asking this question many times: “Am I enjoying the world more than God now? Am I neglecting my time to pray? Now, it is not that believers purposely want to ignore God or are not satisfied in Him, but when it comes to the time spent with the Lord, it seems to require a lot of initiative on our part, and does it comes off as a chore. But for worldly pleasures, it seems to entice us on its own and attracts us to it, especially during times like after work or school. It can be as simple as playing a game on our phone that is so easily accessible, watching some dramas, hanging out with our friends. Now, some may say, this is a problem of having self discipline and restraint. But we all know that it is not as simple as that. When a temptation keeps coming, it is hard to guarantee our human-driven self control. So then, how can we find more joy in being with the Lord, than immersing ourselves in the pleasures of the world?
Do Not See Worldly Pleasures As A Tool For Liberation
Firstly, we must not be mistaken about one thing. We should not see worldly pleasures as a means of liberation. Many people will feel that these leisures activities can help in destressing. Be it drinking alcohol, binge watching some movies, spending time surfing the net or playing games, it does not matter, because in Christ, we are already righteous and free. Therefore, to cut down on stress or tiredness, we should relax and enjoy the freedom in Christ. When we always search for ways in the world to destress first, before we seek the Lord, it is dangerous to our faith as we are contradicting in our spirits. The truth is, when a person is already righteous by faith, the sanctifying power of holiness will also be within him. It is through our struggles with the world, with our flesh and with Satan, that we experience what holiness is about. In 1 Peter 5:7-8, it says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” And in Matthew 11:28-29, it says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” These two verses tells us that the secret to lessening life’s pressures and burdens is to submit ourselves to the Lord. Therefore, we cannot use worldly entertainment and leisures as our main solution to liberation and freedom. This is where we have to be wary and not misunderstand or be distracted by.
What Should I Do If I Enjoy The World More Than God?
However, if we are still unable to enjoy our time with God, focus on Him, our spirit, and our calling, feeling that God’s mission for us is bland and unsatisfying right now, what should we do? When movies, games, shopping, passion for sports, music or other things of the world are so alluring, and seems so much more captivating than God, what do we do? The first thing we have to is “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”, as it says in Philippians 2:12. Reason being, our old self is easily swayed and triggered by matters of the world. In 1 Corinthians 2:14, it says “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” Therefore, such a person will easily lose interest in what God is concerned with. If we have such a heart today, we should truly be in fear and trembling, because we are likening ourselves more and more to the ones of the world and not a child of God. Now, I am not saying that you are not a child of God, but when we test and approve, and we see ourselves in this state, we must be alert and wary of how Satan is working in our thoughts and emotions. Being in “fear and trembling” is not to be fearful of God, but knowing God’s nature, characters, love, righteousness, presence, and having a heart that reveres, seeks and relies on Him. Therefore, a person that is in “fear and trembling” is one that is living right before God and hears His guidance. He will see God’s glory and taste the complete beauty, pleasure and contentment of being with God. Brothers and sisters, this is a battle we must have in us, a battle to clear our vision and see the good, pleasing and perfect will of God, so that we gain strength to manage our time for leisure more blessedly and find back the joy in simply being with the Lord.
Some Practical Suggestions
Finally, I would like to share some practical suggestions that can perhaps, help us enjoy God more than the world.
- Firstly, we can maybe draw closer to our brethren or those who are weak around us, and pray for them, share about how we experience God, affirming some truth from the bible, bringing them closer to the Lord. You may feel that you do not have the ability or strength to do so, but let us first bring this up in prayer, observing those around us. God will provide the time and opportunity in His blessed timetable. Why is this a suggestion to enjoy God more than the world? Because where our heart lies is where we spend a lot of time on, and to reduce our attention on matters of the world, we have to put our efforts and thoughts back on sharing about Him, helping people meet God and interceding for others. All these helps us to shift from our own worldly temptations, desires, accusations and weaknesses, to a blessed and healing path. The more we share and affirm how valuable, precious and loving God is in different ways, different people, different circumstances, our distance from God will gradually reduce, because God gets less abstract and your faith becomes more vibrant.
- Secondly, it is time management. As I have said earlier, where our heart lies is where we spend a lot of time on. Therefore, we really need to ask ourselves every day, how much time are we giving now for worldly pleasures? When we have spent time on those pleasures, does it contradict or take away time from your faith living? If we do not introspect, it is as though we have silently compromised with the world and its influence on us. The truth is, the world is always trying to taint our spiritual conscience. Therefore, brothers and sisters, you need to think through and plan out our time so that we do not waste our precious time away. And most importantly, beware of what takes away our interest in God and our communion with Him. For me, I used to wake up using my phone, scrolling through my social media feed and I realised I am already choosing to dive into the noise of the world. However, as I make a conscious effort to have quiet time, reading my daily bread, having a short prayer, my whole day is more balanced with a truth that guides me right from the start. So planning and intentionally drawing near to God is needed in this world we live in right now.
- Finally, and most importantly, we cannot have the right output if we do not have the right input. This means, it is hard to find strength to live by faith and not the overpowering world, if we are not edified, enlightened and empowered by the Word of God. That is why, I cannot emphasise enough, the importance of holding on and maintaining Sabbath Day. A time weekly to take in the Word, to battle the rest of the week. And to be honest, Sabbath Day message itself is not enough. That is why people have the term “Monday Blues” or “Midweek Blues”. The influence of stress and need for worldly escape methods comes to us anytime of the week and can catch us off guard. So if we never know when the “spiritual enemy” will attack, the best way is to always be prepared. And the way to stay prepared is to have a plan to fall back on, a principle to stick to no matter how much the world attempts to waver us. Thus, this comes from how much we spend time confirming God’s truth and praying each day. And not just bible reading, we can also read or listen about testimonies of those who have experienced God, be it through our cell group meetings, prayer meetings or spiritual articles we read. Through it, we see how much more attractive, lasting and fulfilling it is to taste God’s grace then the momentary leisures of the world. Through it, we see how glorious, loving and satisfying God is to men’s heart.
Brothers and sisters, even though worldly pleasures always seems more enticing and fun, but let us not give up in our prayers and our heart to battle against our flesh. We need to cast all our burdens and stress to the Lord and come to Him in fear and trembling. God’s grace and mercies will surely follow us, drawing us nearer to God. When that time comes, we will be like Paul, who said in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”