Confessions of a World-Lover
Posted at Out of the Ordinary:
Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: consider your ways. You have sown much and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes...You looked for much, and behold it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.
~Haggai 1:5-6, 9
Haggai's words pierce my heart as I think of the toiling and spinning I've done in this life. I have pursued the American dream and come up wanting. I've known the emptiness of too many possessions and too much debt, of being overwhelmed yet still not having enough. I have stored up my treasures on earth. I have tried to live my best life now.
I have loved the world and paid the price.
There are many pitfalls to loving the world. Puritan William Greenhill outlines them thoughtfully in a sermon later published as the book, Stop Loving the World. His argument that most convicted me is that loving the world is unreasonable. Loving the world "will direct you to things that are merely probable and make you leave things that are certain." Greenhill directs us to Haggai 1, where "the Lord asks his hearers to consider whether their prosperity, such as it is, brings about the intended satisfaction" (source). The Israelites were so busy pursuing their own gain that they ignored the Lord's house. It's easy enough to look at the prosperity gospel that's so rampant today and point fingers, but I am also guilty. How many times have I overlooked the church - both the building and the people - in favor of my own pleasures? The trappings of this world are uncertain. As Greenhill states, "The promises of the world and the devil are seldom made good." We don't have to look any further than Genesis 3 to know he is right. As believers, we have full assurance that God's promises are certain. Psalm 18:30 tells us, This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.