Echoes From the Campfire

He was a careful man.  Careful of his walk, careful of the way he dressed, careful when he handled guns, and careful in the care of his horse.  Every morning he brushed the dust from his clothes, and every morning he combed his hair.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (To Tame a Land)

    “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”
              –John 17:18 (NKJV)
How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World

Key Verse:  “We know that we ourselves are children of God, and we also know that the world around us is under the power of the evil one.”   –1 John 5:19 (Phillips)

It is important to realize that God does not ask the impossible.  When He says “love not the world” it is something that He expects us to do.  Look closely at 1 John 2:15-17.

         “Never give your hearts to this world or to any of the things in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. For the whole world-system, based as it is on men’s primitive desires, their greedy ambitions and the glamour of all that they think splendid, is not derived from the Father at all, but from the world itself. The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the permanent and cannot die.”  (Phillips)

These are solemn Scriptures, and yet the Lord expects us to abide by them.  
    One of our problems is that this passage of Scripture is often misinterpreted.  Some say that these verses mean that we are to segregate from society.  There is a religious life and there is a secular life; almost as if a person had a split personality.  The far extreme of this interpretation is monasticism, but there are many who practice it, such as the Amish, Old Order Mennonites and others.  Separate from society.
    Then there are those who have a partial interpretation–they define worldliness as they desire.  They have the “don’t do,” or “we will not do”–the choosing of certain things and by not doing these things they are not worldly.  There are some who say that they should not be interested in the things of the world, such as politics, social activities, economics…they say, “no Christian should ever be concerned about political matters because that is of the world.”  Some of them will become modern-day monks but shutting themselves up and shutting their eyes to the beauty of nature.
    Francis Schaeffer said, “True spirituality covers all of reality.”  Now, I want to take your attention to John 4:24.  It is a very common verse, one that we all know, yet few have the understanding of it.

         “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

We get stuck on the word “truth” in this passage.  What is truth in this verse?  J.B. Phillips does a better job of translating this.

         “God is spirit, and those who worship him can only worship in spirit and in reality.”

Truth here is reality.  We are to worship in reality!  That means whatever we do in life we should be able to worship.  Let me ask:  Do you worship at work?  Do you worship driving to and from work?  Do you worship at school, at activities, at sports?  We should be able to worship God wherever we are and if we cannot we should check where we are.  

       “If God is not in your typewriter as well as your hymnbook,
             there is something wrong with your religion.
    If your God does not enter your kitchen
          there is something the matter with your kitchen.
    If you can’t take God into your recreation
           there is something wrong with the way you play.
    If God, for you, does not smile,
          there is something wrong with your idea of God.”
                      –Peter Marshall

    I see that most Christians have two real difficulties.  First, they do not have an understanding of who God is.  True, we will never understand all, but we need the basic doctrines of God, and attempt to understand His attributes for us to worship properly.  Second, most do not comprehend what true worship is.  It is not only on a Sunday; it is not only singing up front; it is not just listening to praise music.  It is a way of life!  Paul shows us what true worship is.

         “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him…  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”
                   –Colossians 3:17,23 (NKJV)

         I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
                   –Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Phillips says, “intelligent worship”, the HCSB “your spiritual worship”, the Amplified ” your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.”
    Don’t be fearful of the world, but be able to worship in spite of the world.  Our heart belongs to God, therefore so does our worship.  “A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time.”  People get frustrated, and are unhappy in their Christian life because they do not want to face this text.  They want the world and God at the same time.  Then there are those who are so afraid to take a step in life that they are unhappy.  God wants us to be joyful people (go back and read 1 John 1).