Times are hard. The world is crazy. A casual read through the newspaper, or even a nightly observance of the ten o’clock news can create enough stress to send you to the cardiac wing of your local hospital—ISIS is knocking on the door, the senate is at each other’s throats, the borders aren’t secure, the president is going to take all of your rights away, our kids aren’t safe in schools, the crime rate is higher than ever, there are U.S. cities on fire—When we’re not having a media-induced panic attack we’re probably caught up in the monotonous tasks we have to engage in on a daily basis. We work. We drive. We sleep. We work more. We have maybe a day or two off. Then we go back to work.
Is this the pinnacle of human existence? There is no way. We humans, with our intelligence, and emotions, and souls, and God-likeness (Gen. 1:26-27). Sure, we are in a world of “thorns and thistles” (cf. Gen. 3:17-18), which can seemingly so easily drag us down to a pit of an existence—but there is a way to rise above, a way to conquer, a way to be victorious. That way is Jesus: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (Jn. 14:6).
It’s easy to submit to the world. It’s easy to submit to the rat race, to the mass-commercialism, to the FOMO (fear of missing out), to the moral laxity, to the sensual desires and lustful bombardments, to the “God’s dead” and the “Jesus isn’t real.” But we need to remember that as Christians, to quote one of my favorite hymns, “this world is not my home, I’m just a passing through”: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20 NASB).
Ultimately, there is only one way to truly conquer this world which tries its best to drag us down—by faith! But not just any faith. Not faith in our mortgage, or in our car, or in our bank accounts, or our popularity, or our clothing, or our newest gizmos, or in our vacations. To truly overcome the world we need to have faith in the Rock (Ps. 18:2). Don’t get me wrong, things are nice. New stuff is cool. But when my new car rusts, and my bank account is empty, and my clothes are moth-eaten, and my house burns to the ground, God will still be there. And He alone is worthy of my faith and devotion.
As Christians, we are instructed not to love this world (1 Jn. 2:15-17). We understand that the things which make the world what it is—“the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions” (1 Jn. 2:16 NET)—do not belong to our Heavenly Father, they belong to the world. And while the world will one day pass away, those who do the will of God will abide forever.
We can read in the Bible that Satan is the “god of this world”, “prince of the power of the air”, and “the ruler of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; Jn. 12:31). No wonder the world is how it is! Not that God isn’t sovereign or powerful, but rather He, in His infinite wisdom, has allowed Satan to have a certain grip on the things occurring around us and in the world that we see. But, God has given us all away to be victorious over Satan, and overcome this world—through our faith in Christ: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 Jn. 5:4-5).
This world is a tough place. It can so easily drag us down. But God has given us a way to rise above: His Son Jesus Christ. So when this world is pulling you down, just remember that with faith in Jesus, we can be victorious! Don’t let this world bring you down. Instead, follow the example of Paul: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
If Jesus overcame the world, so can we, because He gives us the way. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).