“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
This world is not my home. While I live here I do things I hate (Romans 7:17-19). Anger comes upon me like a breakout rash…burning up my back and turning my flesh beat red. Jealousy comes calling…biting her lip and then sticking her sharp nails into my eyes. Lust arrives quietly…whispering in a dripping voice…while love is put away and abandoned. Worry peers over me as I wake in the morning, throughout the day she stands too close and I have to keep backing away from her, and at night when I close my eyes to sleep I hear her nails ticking against the wall…she hates to be alone from my presence.
It’s not just the sin in the world it’s the sin inside of me that makes me miserable. I get it stuck in my head that because I am a Christian I have to stop sinning. No more of this sticking, black soot on my hands…I have to wash them clean. It’s bizarre as I understand we all sin every single day. There’s no stopping it, but still I am crushed when I have to go to my Father and confess that I failed again.
Satan wants that we focus on our failure. He wants us to live in regret and shame to the extent that we avoid other people and disregard joy. It is Satan’s preferred method to have us indulge in worry and lies until we’re so afraid and uncomfortable that we abandon our dreams. It is Satan’s personal pleasure to make us feel the sting of death.
In fact, my friends, this world is Satan’s playhouse (John 12:31). Even when unbelievers live against God I assure you that they are deep in suffering as well. Many of the verses in Job, Psalms and Ecclesiastes express unbelievers as being free of the pain that Christians experience. In this way they are right, but I do not believe unbelievers are walking on clouds. If you truly think about it…if unbelievers are so satisfied then why do they keep indulging? More and more drinking, sex, anger, stealing, gossiping, lying…it’s never enough so they keep doing it. Drink and drink from that cup; their thirst is never quenched. The flesh thirsts without fulfillment.
The Living Water makes us never thirst again (John 4:14, John 7:37-38). This world is dry. Her lips are cracked and when she rubs her hand against them her flesh is scraped by rough edges; like shards of glass poking out. It’s funny, but I remember something from the film V for Vendetta. If you haven’t seen it before watch it once for enjoyment and then watch it again for deeper meaning. That’s what critics do. So, there is a scene with a television playing in the background. It says there has been an ongoing drought for two years. An ongoing theme in this film is, “God is in the rain.”
Friends, our world is in a perpetual drought. Are your lips cracked and dry? As a Christian I’m going to have to ask you, beg you, advise you, council you to read your Bible and pray. Once a day. Even if you read a four sentence verse you have to get the Word into your brain. My friend River and I spoke about our relationships with Christ. If you go just one day without reading your Bible or without praying you are guaranteed to have an off day. Things will seem dimmer. You’ll be prone to stress in ways you hadn’t anticipated.
This is what happens when you start to dry out.
And don’t seek comfort from unbelievers because they are used to dryness. They don’t know what it’s like to have Living Water.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ (Isaiah 29:14) Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-21
Do you think this world is able to help you? If you’re struggling with depression the solution is a therapist. The therapist will be an outlet for you. You can wind further and further down to the pit of your suffering, but what can the therapist do except give you some stress-relieving advice? She’ll offer some diluted form of reassurance, some kind of scapegoat that never actually allows you to heal. If you see a psychiatrist she can give you antidepressants which can make you feel better, but see…you’re still stuck with the same problems.
Sometimes the world tells you to ignore your depression. Sometimes it tells you there’s no way out.
If you want to find a partner the world tells you to pursue someone you find attractive. If you burn with lust for the other person then this is the same as love. Date this person for a while, have sex with them, and then see if the relationship works out. If it doesn’t you should break the other person down. You should say it was all her fault. You should try to fill your loneliness with more partners and more sex. The world also tells you that marriage is great as long as you can put up with it. As soon as you’re furious with your partner or don’t get your own selfish way then divorce is the answer. Divorce is wonderful. It’s as attractive as dessert after a fattening meal.
The world also encourages perverse relationships between two men and two women. It insists that this is permissible and that one should not “judge.” The world also says that if you’re against homosexuality then it’s okay to abuse those who practice it. It’s okay to threaten violence.
The world says to be sexy, be thin. It encourages lust. It worships sex, but if pregnancy happens just destroy the child. It’s an annoying side effect of pleasure. Just do away with it. The world says war is bad because of the murder and violence yet abortion is accepted because it’s “her body and she can do what she wants,” even though one body is not involved, three are: the father, the mother and the child itself.
The world says to fit in, but it also says to stand out. It says to stand up for what you believe in, but if what you believe in doesn’t match up with the majority then you should shut your mouth. The world says to follow your dreams! But the world is so corrupted that people are robbed, mistreated and cast aside every single day. The world says to work hard. When you succeed the world is jealous. When you fail the world laughs.
People compete against each other. There’s so much animosity, and yet, if you walk down a city street where you pass hundreds of people, you may only make eye contact with several of them. Nobody wants to be bothered with looking in each other’s eyes or talking intimately. Everyone is in a hurry because death’s pocket watch is broken and he’s got eternity in his hands. Everyone’s running this race and it never stops.
What does the world say to do with your shame and regret? Oh, that’s easy! Forgive yourself. Move on. Forget about it. Don’t think about it. What does the world say about suffering? You’ll be okay. You’ll be fine. It’ll end eventually. What does the world do to maintain justice? Put all the bad people in prison! But aren’t we all bad? Haven’t you done terrible things? Prison isn’t big enough for all of us! Instead of healing in prison there is only isolation and anguish. There is only a blank wall to replay the mistakes over and over again. Forgiveness is only a word. Punishment is the only thing to be seen.
What does the world say about being wronged? It says revenge is best. It says to get back on those who have wronged you. It says to be angry, violent and arrogant. How dare that person wrong you! But haven’t you also ruined someone else’s plans? Haven’t you also poisoned someone else’s life?
The world says to succeed. What is success? Well, a family, wealth, a nice house, friends and other comfortable means. But what happens when all of these things are torn away in the blink of an eye? What happens when you get a divorce and lose your children too? What happens if your house is wrecked in a storm? What happens when your friends stab you in the back or you move to another place and lose touch? What happens when the comfortable things become distraction from the constant ache in your chest?
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’ (Job 5:13); and again, ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.’” (Psalm 94:11) 1 Corinthians 3:18-20
What does the world say about happiness? It can be acquired through material objects! Drugs and drinking too can lend themselves freely. Happiness is indulgence in all the things that hurt in the end. Happiness is temporary. Whatever the flesh craves just go and get it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t think. Live hard and fast! Die young. Oh, just hit that climax one more time. That high just wasn’t long enough. More. Keep drinking from the cup. More.
“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ (Isaiah 64:4)—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.”
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-14
What does the world say about you? You’re special. You’re great just the way you are. You’re going to accomplish great things. You complain and gossip about other people, but you do the same things they do. You fill with wrath when someone wrongs you, but you do the same to others. You say cruel things and selfishly fight for your way, but you hurt others and you’re unhappy. You strive to do better, but it’s never good enough. You get something you want only to crave something else. You promise you’ll change only to lie in your bed and stare at the ceiling refusing to believe you made the same mistakes you did yesterday.
You say that you’re going to suck it up and be strong, but you fail again. You’re not even strong enough to ask someone for forgiveness. You take pride in yourself even when you have only known failure and wickedness. You put yourself above others even though we’re all drowning. You say you’re in control, but you can feel your pulse in your fingers when temptation comes around again. One more taste and then you’ll quit. Oh, but you’re still in control. You can stop anytime. Just one more hit. One more.
You say you can get on by yourself in the world, but you’re so impossibly lonely all the time. You say you’re more intelligent than other people, but no one listens to you and you don’t believe half the words you say. You brag that you’re attractive and in great physical shape, but that person you desire never looks at you anyway. You crave her attention, but she never notices you.
You say you are bound for great things, but you can’t even take care of yourself. You say you’re a good person, but you just cursed the person who didn’t hold the door for you. You say you’ll be fine, but you don’t believe yourself. You say you’re going to do exactly what you want and not listen to anyone, but you don’t even know what you want and when you get what you want you’re unsatisfied. You say you don’t believe in God, but when the airplane has terrible turbulence you start to second guess yourself. You say you don’t believe in God until your life is threatened. You say God doesn’t exist, but you curse his name when you don’t get what you want.
You say you don’t care what God says, but you admit that he exists. You want help, but you don’t ask for it. You want things, but you don’t ask you only take. You want guidance, but you’re stubborn and think you’ll find the way on your own. You want forgiveness, but you don’t want to forgive others. You want love, but you think love is a feeling. You don’t ever show it. You want hope, but only if everything turns out exactly like you thought. You want to be mature, but you refuse discipline. You want to be wise, but you refuse to listen. You want to be accepted, but you hate others.
You want wealth, but your greed never ends. You want more time, but you always waste it. You want power, but you have no wisdom and no love. You want something, but you don’t want to work for it. You crave to be remembered, but you’re not worth remembering. You want to live every day to the fullest, but everything falls short of your expectations. You want to be distracted, but the pain keeps getting louder. You want to solve your problems, but you don’t want to confront them. You want people to be honest with you, but you lie to them and you lie to yourself. You want people to keep their promises to you, but you don’t keep your promises to the other people. You want to be satisfied, but you don’t know what that means.
Whose awful children are these?
This world isn’t my home. All the windows are smashed and the front door has been ripped down. The furniture is ripped up, the wallpaper is pealing, the carpet is stained and old, the lights won’t work and the electricity is out, the water is always freezing cold, the food is moldy and expired, the bed is only springs with no mattress, there are so many shadows, the floors creak, the ceilings have water stains, the roof leaks, the windows let it in terrible drafts, everything is broken.
This home is bad, certainly, but what about the other options? No bed. No food. No one. No clothes. No good health. No love. No mercy. No help. No listening. No comfort. No guidance. No wisdom. No love. No forgiveness. No kindness. No laughter. No encouragement. No kept promises. No loyalty. No truth. No hope. No love.
Thank God this isn’t my home.
“I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me…” John 14:30