“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15, NASB

This morning’s prayer: “Father, please show me how I love the world…”

Those types of prayers kind of scare me because sometimes truth hurts. But I just can’t shake the sense there’s so much more to the Christian life than I’m experiencing. Do you know what I mean? My attachment to things of this world probably forms one reason why I’m not fully participating in all God intends.

I. want. more.

An image replays in my mind every now and then. King Theoden, a character from the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien, appears in film at one point as an old, worn-out, ineffective leader. Poisoned by his chief advisor, Wormtongue, the king reclines lethargically unaware of the danger awaiting his people. As a result, he and his kingdom sit vulnerable for attack and devastating destruction.

Is this a picture of what we as the church in America have become?

Are we so incredibly enamored with the world’s ways that even our congregations are filled with worldly mindsets? Have appearance and social standing and popularity emerged as standards for godliness? Whatever happened to humility, simplicity, and servanthood?

“And the LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up … But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down, and fallen sound asleep.” Jonah 1:4,5

Jonah, the reluctant prophet, lived thousands of years ago. But his behavior has been replicated many times over. God entrusted him with a mission–to preach to the heathen–and he ran away. Simply put, he didn’t desire what God desires. He didn’t possess compassion for the lost like God does. Putting his own interests first, he departed in the opposite direction. Jonah slept while waves crashed against the ship he sought to hide in. How in the world could he sleep while the storm furiously raged?

How in the world can I sleep while the enemy enslaves my neighbors, my fellow-Americans, and even some family members?

I’m trying to imagine what it would feel like to be fully awake … gloriously, vibrantly, absolutely ON FIRE for the living God!

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10

We can’t walk if we’re asleep. We can’t accomplish good works while we’re anesthetized by the baubles of this world. Undoubtedly trinkets differ–each of us are drawn to varying distractions. Yet they exist. Realizing that reality is perhaps the first sign of awakening.

What’s preventing us from being fully awake? By the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can refuse the poison this world offers. We can “flee from these things … and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called …” (1 Tim. 6:11-12). 

I think I’m beginning to feel more fully awake … how about you?

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