Living with an Eternal Perspective:
Are You in Love with the World?
by Dr. David R.
What is your attitude toward this world?
There's a gospel song by Albert Brumley that always challenges
me to examine my attitude toward the world. The first verse goes
This world is not my
I'm just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me
From heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home
In this world anymore.
Do those words express your feeling about
this world? What words would you use? Enthusiastic or uncomfortable?
Enamored or alienated? Do you feel at home or do you feel like
A Personal View
Let me ask your indulgence for a moment
as I share my personal feeling about this world. The word I would
use is "hate." Yes, I hate this world. I hate it with
a passion so strong and so intense that I find it difficult to
express in words.
Now, let me hasten to clarify my feeling
by stating that I do not hate God's beautiful and marvelous creation.
I have been privileged to marvel over the
majesty of the Alps. I have been awed by the rugged beauty of
Alaska. I never cease to be amazed by the creative wonders of
God in the great American Southwest. I have been blessed to see
the incredible beauty of Cape Town, South Africa. And I have been
overwhelmed time and time again by the stark and almost mystical
bareness of the Judean wilderness in Israel.
When I say that I "hate" this
world, I'm not speaking of God's creation. I'm speaking, instead,
of the evil world system that we live in.
Let me give you some examples of what I'm
- I hate a world where thousands of babies
are murdered every day in their mother's wombs.
- I hate a world where young people in
the prime of life have their lives destroyed by illicit drugs.
- I hate a world that coddles criminals
and makes a mockery of justice.
- I hate a world that glorifies crime
in its movies and television programs.
- I hate a world that applauds indecent
and vulgar performers like Madonna.
- I hate a world where government tries
to convert gambling from a vice to a virtue.
- I hate a world in which professional
athletes are paid over a million dollars a year while hundreds
of thousands sleep homeless in the streets every night.
- I hate a world where people judge and
condemn one another on the basis of skin color.
- I hate a world that calls evil good
by demanding that homosexuality be recognized as a legitimate,
- I hate a world in which mothers are
forced to work while their children grow up in impersonal day
- I hate a world in which people die agonizing
deaths from diseases like cancer and AIDS.
- I hate a world where families are torn
apart by alcohol abuse.
- I hate a world where every night I see
reports on the television news of child abuse, muggings, kidnappings,
murders, terrorism, wars, and rumors of wars.
- I hate a world that uses the name of
my God, Jesus, as a curse word.
I hope you understand now what I mean when
I say, "I hate this world!"
But how I personally feel about this world
is not important. The crucial point for you to consider is the
biblical view. Let's look at it, and as we do so, compare the
biblical view with your own.
Let's begin with the viewpoint that Jesus
told us we should have. It is recorded in John 12:25 "He
who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this
world shall keep it to life eternal."
Those are strong words. They are the kind
that cause us to wince and think, "Surely He didn't mean
what He said." But the context indicates that Jesus meant
exactly what He said. So, what about it? Do you hate your life
in this world or do you love it?
The Viewpoint of the Apostles
The apostle Paul gave a very strong warning
about getting comfortable with the world. In Romans 12:2 he wrote:
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind." How do you measure up to this
Are you conformed to the world? Have you
adopted the world's way of dress? What about the world's way of
speech or the world's love of money? Are your goals the goals
of the world power, success, fame, and riches?
The brother of Jesus expressed the matter
in very pointed language. He said, "Do you not know that
friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore,
whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy
of God" (James 4:4).
Are you a friend of the world? Are you comfortable
with what the world has to offer in music, movies, television
programs and best selling books? Friendship with the world is
hostility toward God!
In fact, James puts it even stronger than
that, for at the beginning of the passage I previously quoted
(James 4:4), he says that those who are friendly with the world
are spiritual adulterers.
The apostle John makes the same point just
as strongly in 1 John 2:15-16:
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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, is not
from the Father, but is from the world.
There is no way to escape the sobering reality
of these words. Do you love the world? If so, the love of the
Father is not in you!
The Focus of Your Mind
Paul tells us how to guard against becoming
comfortable with the world. In Colossians 3:2 he says, "Set
your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."
In Philippians 4:8 he expresses the same admonition in these words:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever
is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is
lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence
and if anything worthy of praise, let you mind dwell on these
As these verses indicate, one of the keys
to living a triumphant life in Christ to living a joyous
and victorious life in the midst of a world wallowing in despair
is to live with a conscious eternal perspective.
I have personally found this to be so important
that I carry a reminder of it in my shirt pocket at all times.
It is a small card that was sent to me in 1988 by the great prophetic
preacher, Leonard Ravenhill. The card says, "Lord, keep me
What does that mean? In the words of Peter,
that means living as "aliens and strangers" in this
world (1 Peter 2:11). Similarly, in the words of the writer of
Hebrews, it means living as "strangers and exiles" on
this earth (Hebrews 11: 13). Paul put it this way: "Do not
set your minds on earthly things, for our citizenship is in heaven"
The great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis,
explained that to live with an eternal perspective means "living
as commandos operating behind the enemy lines, preparing the way
for the coming of the Commander-in-Chief."
What is Your Attitude?
Are you focused on this world? Are you attached
to it, or do you have a sense of the fact that you are only passing
through, heading for an eternal home?
This life is transitory. This life is only
a prelude to eternity. The song writer, Tillit S. Teddlie put
it all in perspective when he wrote:
Earth holds no treasures
But perish with using,
However precious they be;
Yet there's a country
To which I am going:
Heaven holds all to me.
Why should I long
For the world with its sorrows,
When in that home o'er the sea,
Millions are singing
The wonderful story?
Heaven holds all to me.
Heaven holds all to me,
Brighter its glory will be;
Joy without measure
Will be my treasure:
Heaven holds all to me.