How to Free Ourselves from the World System
In our last chapter we presented the problem that many followers of Christ are captured by the world system because they fail to realize that it is a trap designed to ensnare us. Now we want to consider what must be done in our lives to free ourselves from control by this world system. God provides the answers but we must provide the personal resolve so that God can guide us through the process.
In this age of wilderness survival techniques some people may think we are suggesting moving to the mountains to live in a cabin by the river and storing up food and supplies as you physically remove yourself from the world. As much as I appreciate the cabin by the river that is not what I’m suggesting. We are to be in the world but not of it. We are heavenly ambassadors of heaven to earth (2 Cor. 5:20). Besides, Christ said that He has overcome the world (John 16:3). Surely if He has overcome the world, to remain in fellowship with Him is to experience that same victory with Him. The word says we are “not to love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). That’s as clear as it gets.
So, clearly to free ourselves from the power of the world system is possible only through the wisdom and power of God Himself. He will show us how to be in the world while not being captured by it enticements.
Be a genuine follower of Christ, not a pretender
First of we must commit to being genuine followers of Christ, not mere pretenders (1 Peter 1:7). The world’s pressures will push us in the direction of putting on an outward show of religion without truly being a follower of Christ. Paul warns us that in the last days many will be “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Tim. 3:5). It’s easy to pretend to be a Christian but to truly follow Christ comes with the realization that you are not your own “For you have been bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). Let that sink in and then seek to know what it means for your life.
Hear from God
Many modern Christians have bought into the secular notion that it is impossible to hear from God. Years ago on the ABC TV program The View one of the co-hosts took issue with former president Mike Pence for saying that God spoke to him. She criticized him saying that it’s one thing to talk to God but something quite weird about saying that God speaks to us and we can hear Him. This is the world’s view of hearing from God but the word is clear that we are to hear from God. He gave us a spirit which is the spiritual receiver by which God can speak to us and we can hear from Him.
Paul told us that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). Faith comes to us as we hear. Hearing then, is the outcome of what God says, His word. Faith connects us to God but only comes to us if we have an attitude of listening, if we desire to hear from Him. If we close our spiritual ears to God, we will lack the faith that makes everything God has to offer available to us. His grace and its blessings come to us through faith (Eph. 2:8) which is only possible as we listen to what God has to say.
Don’t be mastered by anything the world has to offer
Speaking of the many things we face each day, Paul declared “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Cor. 6:12). The word translated “mastered” here means to be brought under the authority of someone or something. The apostle would not allow himself to be under any authority that does not come from God. Food, clothing, our house, cars, money, entertainment, and much more, can exercise authority over us by keeping us under their control. Paul speaks of those whose “god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” (Phil. 3:19; ESV). Can you imagine being so controlled by your appetite that your belly becomes your god? That god could be your house, or your car or anything that can control your life and keep you minding earthly things. Escaping the world’s control means disconnecting from the control of its enticements.
Get control of debt
Not being mastered by the things of earth involves the powerful influence that debt has on most Americans. How debt is used in your life is between you and God but you must make sure you are not using debt to get everything you want which leads to further control. I recommend that followers of Christ get out of debt and only use it on the rare occasion that cash is not available. The world system is destined to use the economy to entrap us. We see this in the final decree of Antichrist that will require a mark that permits us to buy and sell (Rev. 13:17). If you have your purse strings connected to the world’s perks you are in spiritual danger. Allow God to be Lord of your life in regard to the world’s offerings. Don’t ignore him like the person James speaks of who says “Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain” (James 4:13). He says “All such boasting is evil” (James 4:16). It’s evil because it robs us of God’s influence on our lives.
Fellowship regularly with a group of Christians who are seeking to do the above things.
This recommendation may encompass and release all of the preceding ones. The Christian walk is not an independent walk. It is a walk that demands our fellowship with other believers of the same mind. I am not talking about “going to church” as we understand it today. Fellowship is not just being in the same place with believers once a week or so. Fellowship is having a divine, spiritual connection we others based on a common experience with Christ.
The Greek word koinonia speaks of sharing something in common. Fellowship is the flowing of Christ between people with a common life in Him. It happens through conversation, singing, sharing the word, and much more centered around Christ in our lives. “Going to church” can become an empty substitute for genuine fellowship that builds up the body of Christ. If you are part of a large organized church, find ways to have regular fellowship with a smaller group of believers seeking the same. In true fellowship there will be individual and corporate accountability to the things shared in this message.
The key is to gain and maintain a disconnect from the world’s control. No, you don’t have to move to that mountain cabin by the river but you will definitely be called to fully seek God and commit to His will for your lives. Hearing from Him and living in fellowship with Him and His people will make all the difference.