GAINING THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSING YOUR OWN SOUL!
The world appeals to every instinct of fallen man. It contains a thousand objects to charm him: they attract his attention, the attention creates a desire for and love of them, and insensibly yet surely they make deeper and deeper impressions on his heart. It has the same fatal influence on all classes. But attractive and appealing as its varied objects may be, all the pursuits and pleasures of the world are designed and adapted to promote the happiness of THIS LIFE ONLY therefore, “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the WHOLE WORLD, and lose his OWN SOUL?”
The Christian is taught by the Spirit, and through His presenting of Christ to the soul his thoughts are diverted from the world. Just as a little child will readily drop a dirty object when something more pleasing is offered to it, so the heart which is in communion with God will say, “I count ALL THINGS but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord… and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:8).
We profit from the Word when we walk in separation from the world. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Such a verse as this ought to search every one of us through and through, and make us tremble. How can I fraternize with or seek my pleasure in that which condemned the Son of God? If I do, that at once identifies me with His enemies.
Oh, my reader, MAKE NO MISTAKE UPON THIS POINT. It is written, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
Of old it was said of the people of God that they “shall dwell ALONE, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Num. 23:9). Surely the disparity of character and conduct, the desires and pursuits, which distinguish the regenerate from the unregenerate must separate the one from the other. We who profess to have our citizenship in another world, to be guided by another Spirit, to be directed by another rule, and to be journeying to another country, CANNOT go arm in arm with those who despise all such things! Then let everything in and about us exhibit the character of Christian pilgrims. May we indeed be “men wondered at” (Zech. 3:8) because “not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2).
We profit from the Word when we are elevated above the world.
First, above its customs and fashions. The worldling is a slave to the prevailing habits and styles of the day. Not so the one who is walking with God: his chief concern is to be “conformed to the image of his Son.”
Second, above its cares and sorrows: of old it was said of the saints that they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing that they had “in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (Heb. 10:34).
Third, above its temptations: what attraction has the glare and glitter of the world for those who are “delighting themselves in the Lord?” NONE whatever!
Fourth, above its opinions and approvals. Have you learned to be independent of and defy the world? If your whole heart is set upon pleasing God, you will be quite UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE FROWNS OF THE GODLESS.
Now, my reader, do you really wish to measure yourself by the contents written asbove? Then seek honest answers to the following questions.
First, WHAT are the objects before your mind in times of recreation? What do your thoughts most run upon? Second, what are the objects of your choice? When you have to decide how to spend an evening or the Sabbath afternoon, what do you select? Third, which occasions you the most sorrow, the loss of earthly things, or lack of communion with God? Which causes greater grief (or chagrin), the spoiling of your plans, or the coldness of your heart to Christ? Fourth, what is your favorite topic of conversation? Do you hanker after the news of the day, or to meet with those who talk of the “altogether lovely” One? Fifth, do your “good intentions” materialize, or are they nothing but empty dreams? Are you spending more or less time than formerly on your knees? Is the Word sweeter to your taste, or has your soul lost its relish for it?
[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Profiting from the Word’]