"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 (NKJV)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Week 15: Live as if Not Engrossed in the Things of the World

Those who use the things of the world, [should live] as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. ~ 1 Corinthians 7:31

We humans long to find meaning and satisfaction in our finite lives. We tend to look in the wrong places, getting engrossed in worldly things. Engrossed...I love that word. It means to be captivated by, to give your attention completely to something. People get engrossed in all sorts of things. Building wealth or career. Following sports or television shows. Playing video games. Hobbies. Collections. Social networking web-sites. Blogs!

This week's command calls us away from the worldly things in which we have become "engrossed." It calls us to turn our attention to things that will last. What will last? Expressions of holiness, godliness and submissive obedient love for God will follow us into eternity.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. ~ 2 Cor. 5:10

The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. ~ 1 Cor. 3:8

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." ~ Rev. 22:12

"Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds." Rev. 2:23b

"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life." Mk 10:29-30

When we become engrossed in worldly things, we miss out on the good works God has intended for us and, thus, we will miss out on heavenly rewards God has planned for us. We're not commanded to not use or to not enjoy worldly things. Rather, we're commanded to not become engrossed in them.

I'm asking myself this question: With what worldly things have I become engrossed? What, other than God, do I tend to give my attention completely to? One thing that immediately comes to mind is St. Louis Cardinals baseball. From February (when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training) through September, and Lord willing, well into October, I am a Cardinals fanatic. The word "obsession" is used carelessly these days. I'm not obsessed (maybe my wife would disagree), but it's safe to say that I am engrossed in Cardinals baseball for months every year. This week, I am going to take at least several days away from baseball and think about how to incorporate the game into my life at a healthier level.


  1. God's timing is still amazes me. This morning I was reading a little Piper. He was speaking about finding our satisfaction in God (which seems to be a very common theme for him, but always worth repeating), and how the things of this world cannot satisfy us like Jesus. I'm always so thankful when God repeats things to me!! I definitely stand up and listen...which I should be doing the 1st time anyway! :) ~Nicole

  2. Thanks for sharing that. I experience that frequently-----God repeating things to me. I always feel that it's some confirmation that God is speaking to me. It's neat that God would use this little blog like that.

  3. Nathan, I was just praying on my way to work this morning that God would grace me to remember that this realm of time is only an image of the reality that is the eternal realm. I so want to hear the Father's voice and obey His commands so that I am fulfilling His will each day instead of being "engrossed" by the things of this world. It's hard to hear Him, though, when I can't pull away from all the things that press upon my time. This Scripture is great! Thanks for sharing. I will hide it in my heart and meditate on it.

  4. Isn't it a neat scripture---those who use the things of the world should live as if not engrossed in them? When I was putting together the list of commands at the outset of this project, this is one that really jumped out at me and surprised me. It's something to be treasured.