HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
LIVE WITH SINGLE-MINDEDNESS (29-31)
Paul adds one more thought in verses 29-31
What I mean, my brothers and sisters are that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
Paul urges us to recognize that the time is short and instead of spreading yourself thin He says we should become focused. Paul gives us five illustrations.
First, those who are married should live as if they are not married. Paul is not saying that we should disregard our spouses. He is saying that even in marriage you must put God first. You need to do what is right even if your spouse resists.
Second, those who mourn should live as if they did not. Paul is saying that we must not let sorrow or tragedy keep us from serving the Lord. Bad things happen. We can curl up and pout or we can determine that we will serve Him in good times and in bad.
Third, those who are happy are to live as if they were not. Paul is not telling us to be grouchy. He is saying we should not let pleasure and enjoyment take the place of God in our relationship. It is possible to get so involved in indulging our appetites that we can be enslaved to those very appetites.
Fourth, those who possess things should treat those things as if it were not theirs to keep. We are to view all our possessions as tools for God to use. It is not “my stuff” it is His. My job is to look for ways to use the stuff to bring honour and glory to the Lord.
Finally, Paul says those who use the things of the world should do so without being addicted to them. Have you noticed how our list of “the things we need” has changed over the years? For many of us, if our television, microwave, air conditioning, computer, internet access or cable was lost, we would consider it a crisis. Paul would remind us that this is just “stuff”. These things should not influence our lives . . . that is God’s job.
One of Satan’s favourite strategies is to create a diversion. He will take something that is good and get us so focused on it that we drift in our walk with God without even noticing. We can become obsessed with politics, sports, television, saving money, video games, our jobs, and even our children.
None of these things is bad until we become engrossed in them. When the ways of the world begin controlling our life, Satan has won a key battle. Paul is calling us to get focused. He challenges us to set our sights on what is truly important and not let anything distract us.
Think about an Olympic champion. These athletes focus on being the best. They train tirelessly. While friends are out having a good time, they are working to shave a tenth of a second off their time, or are working on a new move or trying to master their weakest swimming stroke. While friends are out partying, the champion is watching what they eat and getting the rest they need. During the training time, people may say they are crazy. We confess that we wouldn’t want to work that hard. However, when these people stand on the winner’s platform we all wish it could be us.
You don’t become a champion without single-minded focus and sacrifice. This is what Paul is calling for from us. We are pursuing a crown that will not tarnish, spoil or fade. We are not playing a game. Eternity hangs in the balance. Paul’s challenge is for us to be done with lesser things and to give ourselves to serving Christ wholeheartedly, right where we are.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW …….