God's cure for worldliness
(Horatius Bonar, "The Night of Weeping")
There is much worldliness among the saints! There is worldliness in their
motives and actions; worldliness in their domestic life and in their
interaction with society; there is worldliness in the arrangements of their
households and in the education of their families; there is worldliness in
their expenditure, so much being laid out for self, so little for God; there
is worldliness in their religious schemes, and movements, and societies;
there is worldliness in their reading, and in their conversation. There is,
in short, too much of the spirit of fervent worldliness about their whole
deportment, and little of calm, happy superiority to the things of earth.
They are fretted, disturbed, bustled just like the world. They grudge labor,
or fatigue, or expense, or annoyance in the cause of Christ, or in serving
their fellow men. They have much of earth, little of Heaven about them.
They are not large-hearted or openhanded; not willing to spend and be spent,
unmoved and unruffled, as those whose eye is ever set on the incorruptible
inheritance on which they so soon shall enter. They are low and unaspiring
in the things of God.
Perhaps there are few things against which we require to be more warned than
against this spirit of worldliness. The Church is very prone to forget her
pilgrim character in this present evil world and to live as a citizen of
earth. Her dignity as the eternally chosen of the Father is lost sight of;
her hope as the inheritor of the glory and the kingdom of the Son is
God's cure for worldliness is the
bringing before us of another, eternal world, more glorious than that which
He calls on us to forsake. There is no thorough cure for worldliness but
this. It is lack of faith in eternal realities, that makes us worldlings!
When the believing eye gets fixed on the world to come, then we learn to set
our affections on things above.
So long, however, as all here in our present sphere of existence is bright,
we are content with this world. We allow ourselves to sink down and settle
quietly among the things of earth. Why should we whose home and treasure are
above, ever again seek our home or our treasure here on this poor earth?
Why should we stoop from our heavenly elevation to mingle again with the
company which we have forsaken? Are we ashamed of our pilgrim staff and our
pilgrim road? Surely not. To be a pilgrim on earth is to be divided from sin
and sinful appetites, from the seducing vanities and worthless mockeries of
the world, from the fascinating beauty and perilous splendor of this
decaying scene. To be a pilgrim on earth is to be a friend of God, a member
of the heavenly household, an expectant of the kingdom, an heir of the crown
The opposite of worldliness is heavenly mindedness or spiritual mindedness.
This, the new relish which the Holy Spirit imparts at conversion, in some
measure produces. But it is feeble. It easily gives way. It is not strong
enough to withstand much temptation. God's wish is to impart a keener relish
for eternal things, and to destroy the relish for the things of time.
This He effects by blighting all objects in which there was earthly
sweetness, so that by being deprived of objects to "mind" on earth, it may
of necessity be led to "mind" the things above. He dries up all the "nether
springs" of earthly joy, that we may betake ourselves to the "upper springs"
which can never fail.
When God unroofs our dwelling, or tears up its foundation by an earthquake,
then we are forced to look upward and seek a better and more enduring
portion! Many such shocks, however, are often needed before our souls are
broken off from their cleaving to the dust.
What are this world's allurements to us? What to us are the sights and
sounds of earth, who "shall see the king in his beauty," and hear His voice,
into whose lips grace is poured? What to us is the green fertility of earth,
who shall enter into the possession of the new earth? What to us is the gay
glory of a city's wealth and pomp, who shall be made citizens of the New
Jerusalem, where dwells the glory of God and of the Lamb, whose foundations
are of precious stones, whose walls are of jasper, whose gates are of pearl,
whose streets and pavements are of transparent gold?
Be zealous and repent and do your first works. Come out, be separate, touch
not the unclean thing! Put off the works of darkness! Put on the armor of
light. Be done with wavering, indecision, and compromise.
Church of the living God! Be warned. Live for Jesus, not for yourself, for
Him, not for the world. Walk worthy of your name and calling, worthy of Him
who bought you as His bride, worthy of your everlasting inheritance.
Consider the LAMB and walk in His steps!