A World of Choice?

Jerry Bridges

 

As a boy I would spend hours looking at colorful catalogues of model trains; the engines, carriages, miniature mountains, trees, buildings (and people) that might make up little worlds for me to control. I am sorry to admit that this very ‘worldly’ attitude has not altogether left me yet. What hope is there for someone like me? This final brief post on the theme of worldliness comes from Jerry Bridges.

 

Jerry Bridges wrote: “How then can we deal with our tendencies toward worldliness? It is not by determining that we will not be worldly but by committing ourselves to becoming more godly. We need to grow in our relationship with Him and begin to view all aspects of life through the lens of His glory. In the nineteenth century, a Scottish minister, Thomas Chalmers, preached a sermon called, ‘The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.’ That’s what we need to combat our worldliness. We need an increased affection for God that will expel from our hearts our affections for the things of this world.”
From Jerry Bridges in Respectable Sins – Confronting the Sins We Tolerate.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.   Colossians 3:1-2 ESV

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Worldly? Maybe not…

 

God's Words
Just occasionally (not often enough?) I become almost guiltily aware of the sometimes vast gap that exists between me and other Christians in other parts of the world in respect to the good things I receive from God on a daily basis (so much more than ‘just’ my ‘daily bread’). But does this mean I am wrong to enjoy what God gives? This second brief post on the theme of worldliness comes from J.I. Packer.


15 
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. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 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

J.I.Packer writes: “…we see what the nature of worldliness is, and avoid the mistake of equating it with the use and enjoyment of created things, as such. Worldliness means yielding to the spirit that animates fallen mankind, the spirit of self-seeking and self-indulgence without regard for God.

“Whether a man is worldly thus depends, not on how much enjoyment he takes from the good and pleasant things of this life, but on the spirit in which he takes it. If he allows these things to enslave him (1Corinthians 6:12) and become a god – that is, an idol – in his heart (Colossians 3:5) he is worldly.

“If, on the other hand, he is disciplined in his use of them, not indulging to the detriment of his own or others’ edification (1 Corinthians 10:23-33; 8:8-13) nor losing his heart to them, but receiving them gratefully as God’s gifts and a means for showing forth his praise, thanking God for all pleasant occupations and all delightful experiences, and not letting the merely good elbow out the best, he is not worldly, but godly.

“Again, it is not worldly to be praised; but it is worldly to live for men’s compliments and applause, and to find one’s highest happiness in the thought that one has gratified men, rather than in the knowledge that one has done God’s will.

“Worldliness is the spirit which substitutes some earthly ideal, such as pleasure, or gain, or popularity, for life’s true goal, which is in all things to praise and to please God.”

From J. I. Packer in God’s Words

Going Along to Get Along?

Jerry Bridges
We really don’t need to worry that we will ever be ‘too heavenly minded to be of any earthly use’. The more the minds of Christians are shaped by heaven, (
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus… Philippians 2:4-5 ESV) the more useful we will be, to God, and to the world; the better we will be able to love God, and our neighbor, too. This first of three brief posts on the theme of worldliness, comes from Jerry Bridges…

Jerry Bridges writes… “Now let me review my twofold definition of worldliness. First of all, it’s a preoccupation with the things of this temporal life. Second, it’s accepting and going along with the values and practices of society around us without discerning if they are biblical. I believe the key to our tendencies toward worldliness lies primarily in the two words going along. We simply go along with and accept the values and practices of society around us without thought as to whether those values and practices are biblical.

“That’s why Christian young women will wear immodest dress. They simply go along with the styles others are wearing without stopping to think whether or not those styles are pleasing to God. And there is nothing overtly sinful in sports themselves. But if we simply go along with others around us, we can end up making an idol of our favourite team.”

From Jerry Bridges in Respectable Sins – Confronting the Sins We Tolerate

Wisdom and Guidance – A package deal?

Goldsworthy

 

My feelings, as a young Christian, of frustration over God’s guidance (I wanted it – he seemed too slow to give it) were largely selfish. They still are, and more often than I am comfortable admitting. Perhaps if I were more concerned with finding Wisdom I would have found guidance too. This final brief post on the theme of Wisdom also comes from Graeme Goldsworthy…

Graeme Goldsworthy wrote: “The second approach to guidance is the wisdom way. That is, God has given us the framework within which to make our decisions for life. In the gospel lie all the principles needed for us to make wise and responsible decisions. In being urged to use our God-given brains to make decisions which are consistent with the gospel, we recognize that many situations, even those of great importance, present us with two or more options to choose from, none of which needs to be more acceptable than the others.

“In the course of his daily decision making, the Christian can rest assured that he will not miss out on God’s best. Through momentary insanity or stupidity he may choose a course of action that results in a lot of trouble, even tragedy. But even that cannot permanently remove him from the ultimate purpose of God.

“We all have much to repent of daily, and wiser (more gospel-directed) decisions would keep us from causing ourselves and others much hurt.”

From Graeme Goldsworthy in Gospel and Wisdom