The Product Of Maturity
Tim Temple


Open your Bibles to I John, chapter 2. Some of the greatest verses in the Bible, I think, are Matthew, chapter 11, verses 28-29. Those verses say:

Matthew 11:

28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

If there ever was a time when people were burdened and heavily laden, it is today. It was true in Jesus' day. The burden and the heavy load they carried in His day was probably more physical than ours, but they were certainly, as Jesus saw them, scattered and without a shepherd. They had many spiritual needs and physical needs. We have many more conveniences and much more ease in life than they had, and because of those privileges we have, we, too, are burdened and heavily laden, particularly, people who don't know Christ. So many things distract us and even sometimes keep us from listening on Sunday mornings to the sermon. Things invade our minds and our thoughts and our lives, and Jesus says, “You who are burdened and heavily laden, come unto Me and I will give you rest.” Then He went on to say, “Learn of Me. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me.” In other words, He said, “Let Me join you in those burdens. Be yoked to Me, not as some kind of a slave, but let Me carry the load with you. Learn of Me, and you will find rest unto your soul.”

That is the key issue: “Rest unto your soul.” The biggest need in the world today, for believers in Jesus Christ and unbelievers alike, is rest for our souls. That is what we are all striving after. Whether we know it or not, it is what we are seeking because if, as the hymn writer said, it is well with our soul, then everything else will fall into place. I think those are the kinds of things that John had in mind as he wrote as he wrote this letter to those early Christians. As he says in chapter 2, verses 15-17:

I John 2:

15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

If you have been thinking with me thus far, you may say, “Wait just a minute. How do those verses fit in with the cares of the world?” It sounds as if there is not much connection at all. It sounds as if John is being very negative, and Jesus is being very positive. But I want us to see as we look at these verses that the result of what John is instructing us to do here in I John, chapter 2, will be rest for our souls. Conversely, the only way that we can do those things that he lists in these verses is through knowing Jesus Christ, taking His yoke upon us and learning of Him.

Let me just review with you what we have talked about in the last few weeks as we have looked at chapter 2. The whole subject of John's letter is fellowship with God. We have talked about that in some detail in chapter 1. John says, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with Jesus Christ His Son, and if you walk in the light as He is in the light, then you will have fellowship with us. You will have fellowship with God and with us.”

If we walk in the light of God's Word, if we order our lives the way God's Word instructs us to, we will have the right vertical relationship. We will have the right relationship with God, but we will also have the right horizontal relationship, the right relationship with other people—fellowship with God and with other people. Having established that in chapter 1, in chapter 2, he has been talking about the conduct, the way we live as we know Christ as our Savior and as our Father and as our brother, the One Who brings us into the presence of God. As we know Jesus Christ, we begin to grow spiritually. In the past few weeks, we have looked at that process of growth in verse 12 and the first part of verse 13. Then last week we looked at the procedure that causes that growth in the last part of verse 13 and going on into verse 14. We saw that that growth comes from taking in the Word of God—studying the Word of God in church, in Sunday school and in our personal times—any opportunity that we have, and not only that, but obeying the Word of God.

We saw in chapter 1 that those who know Jesus Christ ought to walk, as John says, as He Himself walked. And how did Jesus walk? We talked about that in great detail, but let me just review with you that Jesus did always those things that pleased the Father. As the Father instructed Him in His humanity about something to do, Jesus did that; and as we obey the things that God tells us to do, as we walk in the light, as we live as Jesus lived, John says we begin to grow. He talks about the various stages of growth—the young men, the infant and the father. If you have been with us, you know that his emphasis on that spiritual maturity is not something that comes overnight. It is something that we grow into gradually, but it is also something that just like with the human baby, if we don't feed the baby and if we don't give the baby nourishment, the baby doesn't grow. The same thing is true spiritually. If we don't have spiritual nourishment, we don't grow. We remain spiritual infants.

It is very significant that after having explained that process of maturity and after having talked about the importance of taking in the Word of God so that we can become spiritual fathers, we can become spiritually mature. We shouldn't be concerned if we are just baby Christians. What we should do about that is not try to strain and force ourselves to become mature fathers. What we should do is just take in the Word of God and grow as God grows us at His pace and in His way. So don't worry if you are just a baby Christian, and don't worry if you are just one of the young men John describes in verses 12-13. You are moving toward that father place, that maturity; and after having explained that maturity that we are all moving toward, hopefully, as we feed on the Word of God, it is then that he talks about the product.

Correct Understanding of Relationship With The World

One of the characteristics of spiritual maturity is what we read here in verses 15-17, and it is very important that we understand these verses in their context. The concept in these verses is a concept that has been greatly misused by Christians all down through the years. I am sure that there is no one here who isn't familiar with the term worldliness . Some of us are more familiar with it than others. If you grew up in the Bible belt of the 1940s and 1950s and maybe before that, worldliness was a big bug-a-boo term. It was something that Christians ought to be very careful not to get involved in. Worldliness has been blamed for all kinds of things, everything from short skirts on women to long hair on men, to card playing, to dancing. Almost anything that any particular Christian or group of Christians didn't like, they could lump into that category of worldliness. What we are going to see in these verses is what worldliness really is and what it means to avoid worldliness. It is a subject that has been much misunderstood.

I hope you will think carefully with me as we look at what John has to say—that a product of maturity and therefore a product of moving toward maturity is a correct understanding of our relationship with the world. First, he said in verse 15, the expression is, “Love not the world or the things in the world.” There is the expression that we are going to develop.

The first thing we need to understand is what he means when he says, “the world.” What is he talking about? Again, those of us who have come up in the Bible Belt and Bible centered churches tend to think, “That means people who don't know Christ.” One of the most famous verses, if not the most famous, John 3:16, says:

John 3:

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Let's get settled in our minds that when he says, “Love not the world,” he is not talking about the unsaved. That is an important thing for us to remember because one of the reasons unbelievers reject us is that they have the impression, and sometimes it may be well founded, that we hate them, particularly people who are caught up in and holding on to some particular kind of sin. Maybe it is the sin of homosexuality. Maybe it is the sin of promoting or participating in abortion. Maybe it is the sin of alcoholism—any of these various sins. They say, “I don't like Christians, and I don't like the church, and I don't want to have anything to do with God because you just hate people like me.”

It is the opposite of what the Bible says. God loves people like that. He hates the sin, but He loves the people. He loves the people so much that He gave His own Son to pay for the sin because He hates the sin, and He doesn't want to see people burdened down by the sin. We need to be extremely careful as Christians that we do not hate the world, that we do not hate the sinner. If we do that, we are not being Christlike. To be Christlike is to love the sinner.

That has many ramifications, but at the very least it means that we need to be extremely sensitive to people whom we know to be living in sin. We need to be very careful that we not do anything to make them think we don't like them, that we don't have sympathy for them—not that we condone the sin, but that we love them. To be Christlike is what that means, and we set our focus on trying to help them get out from under the bondage of the sin. There needs to be that very clear dichotomy between the sinner and the sin because God loves the world.

Someone says, “Maybe He means by the world, the physical world around us. Maybe there is something wrong with gardening and fishing and hunting.” Let me quickly put your mind at ease about that since so many of you are involved in that. The Scripture says in Psalm 19 and in Romans, chapter 1, that the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork, so God can't be talking about the physical world around us when He says, “Love not the world.” He gave us the physical world. He, in fact, put us in charge of it and told us to keep it and to care for it and to cause it to produce. So He is not talking about the physical world.

What is He talking about then? If we were to take all of the references to the world besides this one that John is talking about, we would find that what John is talking about when he says, “Do not love the world,” is the world system, the world philosophy. “Love not the world.” For example, in John, chapter 15, Jesus was talking to His disciples and preparing them for what it was going to be like after He was gone and talking to them in what Bible scholars call The Upper Room Discourse . One of the things He said to them as He had them gathered there and was teaching what they needed to be on the lookout for when He was gone was, “Don't be surprised if the world hates you because the world hated Me first. If you are My followers, they are going to hate you.”

What did He mean by that? That gives us a clue to what the world that He is talking about is. Who was it that hated Jesus? Who was it that rejected Jesus? One thing we preachers hate to point out, but I have to do it, is that it was the religious leaders. It was the ministerial alliance of Jerusalem who was most opposed to Jesus Christ. It was the Sunday School superintendent and the teachers and the people who were active in church. They didn't have Sunday School and the terminology that we have today, but they had religious people; and if you read through the New Testament and the gospels, you can't get away from the fact that it was the religious people and the leaders of the religious people who rejected Jesus Christ. The upper level of religious people were the ones who hounded Him all the way to the Cross and who hounded the Roman government until they got the death penalty for Jesus.

Let's take it a step further. Why did they reject Him? Again, if we took the time to analyze those various conflicts that Jesus had with the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the priests and the scribes and all the various religious leaders, it boils down to the fact that He was not doing things the way they thought things should be done. If ever there was a case of “everybody is out of step but Johnny,” it was there. Here was the God of the universe, here was the God Who wrote the very standards they lived by in the Old Testament, and He came and lived according to those standards. They were so far off base in doing the things they wanted to do that they said that He was the one out of step. They rejected Him because they had dreamed up in their minds what a religious person ought to be. They had dreamed up in their minds what the Messiah would be like, and when the most religious person who ever lived showed up, when the Messiah showed up and He didn't do things the way they thought He would, they rejected Him. They were doing things the way they wanted them done and not the way God had outlined that they be done. If they had really studied the Old Testament with their hearts open, they would have known all of those characteristics about the Lord Jesus that He fulfilled.

In the gospel of John, we are told about how John the Baptist was imprisoned and ultimately was beheaded. When he was in prison, he became discouraged just as anybody would. He had been the forerunner of Jesus. He had been the one who announced Jesus. He had been a faithful servant of Jesus Christ and here he was in prison, so he sent some messengers to Jesus and said, “Art thou He Who shall come or should we look for another?” John thought Jesus was the Messiah. He was one of the very few people in Israel of his day who even had a clue that Jesus was the Messiah. He thought that was Who He was, but things weren't turning out as John thought they would, so he got discouraged. But he did the right thing. He prayed about it, in effect. By sending a messenger to Jesus, he was sending a messenger to God—He was praying. He said, “Tell me. Have I misunderstood? Are You the Messiah as I thought You were or are You not?”

Jesus sent a messenger back to John. He told the messenger, “Go back and tell John that the lame walk and the blind see and the mourners have their dead returned unto them.” Why was that such a significant message? What did Jesus mean by that? He meant, “John, remember what the Old Testament said. The Old Testament said that when the Messiah came, the dead would be restored to life and the lame would walk and the blind would see.” He just quoted from the book of Isaiah. If any of those religious leaders of that day had studied what was available to them, they could have known that. John was apparently satisfied with that answer because we hear nothing more about him. We don't hear of any kind of rebellion. We don't hear any kind of rejection. He went as a martyr for his faith to Jesus Christ, beheaded because of his testimony and because of his faithful preaching of God's Word. He understood the principles of God's Word, so he recognized Who Jesus was.

The world system is that system, that philosophy, that says, “I don't care what the Word of God says. Here is the way I think things ought to go. Here is the way I think my needs can be satisfied and this is the way I will do it.” That is the world's system which leaves God and God's Word out of the picture. The Pharisees, the Scribes, the Sadducees, the priests are very well-meaning. They did a lot of good works. At one point, they said to Jesus, “We tithe all kinds of things,” and Jesus said, “These you ought to have done and not to have left the other undone.” They were religious people. They were good people. They did some good for some people, and the world is not bad, and this is a big mistake we Christians make. We have a tendency to think that the world is bad people. So then we hear about something good that unbelievers are doing or believers who aren't growing and are just living by the world's system, and it is confusing to us.

The Bible does not say that the world is inherently bad. It is that philosophy of the world that leaves God out of the picture which is what God warns us so carefully about. Coming back to I John, chapter 2, he says, “Love not the world…” The world is that system and anybody that is caught up in that system that says, “We can meet our own needs. If we can just have enough money, if we can just have enough people helping us, if we can all get together and work on this thing, we can satisfy our souls.”

That is why I started out by talking about Matthew, chapter 11, verse 29. Jesus said, “You come to Me. That is where you find rest for your soul.” The world is knocking itself out to find rest for its soul. Jesus said, “I am the One Who brings rest to your soul. You don't need to get involved in all kinds of hard work, good works, doing all these things, amassing all of this money. You don't need to do all of that to find rest for your soul. Come to Me and you will find rest for your soul.” So John, maybe with what Jesus said in mind, wrote to his disciples, and God recorded it for us: “Don't love the world.”

What Does It Mean To Love The World?

That leads us to a second question. What does he mean by love? What does it mean to love the world? What does he mean when he says, “Don't love the world?” You may be fascinated to discover that the word love here is a translation of the Greek word agape. If you know very much about the Greek language or if you have a preacher who knows a little something about the Greek language, you may remember that the word agape is the word that is used for the way God loves us. The summary of agape love is “love that produces action.” For example, John, chapter 3, verse 16, which we have already talked about: “…God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” God loved, and He gave. That is God's kind of love.

Here he is telling us something that is opposed to God and something we need to be warned about. He says, “Don't love the world in the way that God loves.” How does that fit together? What he is saying is, “Don't depend on the world system. Don't throw your actions and your energy into the world system. Don't get involved in the world system to meet your needs. You children of God don't have to get all caught up in that.” He is talking about motivation. He is talking about orientation. What is your motivation in life? We are going to see in a moment that in verse 16 he talks about the world's motivation, the world's system. What is your motivation in life? For the believer, the motivation in life ought to be as we saw in chapter 1, as Jesus did, to do always those things that please Him. Our motivation, as we have seen in the first part of chapter 2, is to take in the Word of God, our spiritual food, so we can grow to maturity. That is our motivation. Our motivation, our orientation, is to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to be brought to a place of maturity that will not be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, to come to the place that we will know the love of God welling up in us and springing forth into eternal life and reaching the lives of people around us. That is our goal. That is our orientation.

This matter of goal and motivation and orientation is all through our human life. The sailor takes his orientation from the north star. He navigates the seas by taking readings on the stars and the north star is the primary one that he uses. The farmer, as he plows his field, keeps his eye on a particular object off in the distance. He is oriented to that object that is off in the distance and as he plows he keeps his eyes on that object so that he can plow a straight line, so that he can plow in the direction that he wants to go. The builder takes his orientation, his motivation, from a level foundation because he knows that if the foundation is off a tiny bit at the base, it is going to be progressively farther off base as he builds the structure.

Take those human illustrations and think about what God is saying to us here. “Don't let the world and the world system and trying to meet your own needs with your own strength be your orientation or motivation or that which drives you in life. Don't let that be your motivation to meet your own needs the best way that you can, to do it the world's way.

In the last part of verse 15, he elaborates on this. The first part of verse 15 is the expression. He says:

I John 2:

15If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The reason that I went into all this detail about loving the world is that we cannot really understand the last part of verse 15 if we don't understand what it means to love the world. He says, “If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Does that mean that if we are interested in what is going on around us in the world, that if we want to have a nicer home and better clothes, we don't love God? No. What he is saying here is that we obviously can't be motivated by the Father, we can't be oriented through the Father, we can't have pleasing the Father as our foundation if our motivation and our orientation and our foundation is taken from the world system. We can't do both at the same time.

When a farmer is out plowing, even though he has a fabulous, modern tractor, he still has got to have an orientation. He can't plow toward that field over there and that one over there at the same time; and we can't have our orientation on pleasing the Father and doing things the way the world system wants to do them at the same time. It is just a simple statement of orientation. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” John has been talking about this matter of living the way Jesus lived, doing all these things that please the Father, taking in the Word of God, growing to maturity as a Christian by doing things God's way. Now he says, “Look, there is a choice here. You can't do things the world's way and the Father's way at the same time. There is a choice that has to be made.”

Illustration Of The Principle

In verse 16, He gives the illustration of this principle. He says:

I John 2:

16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Here is a very famous verse also that has been often misunderstood. What we have here is a description of this world system that we have been talking about. The term world system is not in the Bible. It is a term that many Bible teachers use. The world system is the system that is described here in verse 16. What is the lust of the flesh? Somebody says, “Oh, I know what that is. That Playboy Magazine , those X-rated movies—that is the lust of the flesh.” That may be a part of the lust of the flesh, but that is not all that this term means.

First, let me remind you, and we come across this every once in a while in the Scripture, the word lust has changed its meaning since the time it was translated in this way. In some of the newer translations of the Bible it is translated strong desire because in the 1600s, when this was first translated into English, that is what the word lust meant. It meant “strong desire.” It meant “strong hunger” or “strong thirst” or “strong sexual orgy.” Whatever the object of the verb was, it meant “strong desire.”

In our day, for whatever reason, by the time we got down to the twenty-first century, the meaning of the word lust changed. We apply it strictly to sensual, sexual sins, and so when we read “the lust of the flesh,” we think that it means “I can be a good Christian if I don't get involved in pornography.” But the lust of the flesh is much bigger than that. The lust of the flesh is kind of the headline in the description of the world system. It is the strong desire to do whatever I want to do—to please my flesh, to please me, a strong desire to do whatever I want to do. If what I want to do is sinful, then I have got to do whatever I've got to do to be able to do that sinful thing. If that is a sinful thing like homosexuality, such as the Bible so clearly spells out, then I have got to somehow convince other people that it is perfectly all right for me to do this thing that I want to do, that my flesh wants to do. I have got to find some way to explain that away. I have got to find some way to tell people to go away; it is none of their business. I want to do what I want to do.

I just used homosexuality because it is the most glaring example of people who have insisted that the rest of us see it their way. It is amazing how effective they have been. Remember, I have already clearly stated that I am not talking about hating the people; I am talking about hating the sin and loving the people. We do that all the time, don't we? If I want to do something and it is something that my wife doesn't want me to do, I set about trying to find some way to justify that to her. You do the same thing, don't you? If we want to do something, if we have a lust, a strong desire to do that, we set out to explain why it is okay for us to do that. If we have a desire to meet our own needs, if we have a desire to find rest unto our souls in some way that satisfies our flesh and we reject what God has to say about how to find rest unto our souls, that is where the problem comes.

That is the world system. We will meet our own needs. I want to do this thing. I want to have this thing that makes me feel good. I want to be careful to not put objects as illustrations because if I use an illustration, you may think I am preaching against that thing, but plug in whatever it is that your flesh may want to do. Some of that is good. Sometimes we want things that are good, and that's all right. There is nothing wrong with wanting some material thing if that is what God wants for you and if God is going to use that material thing as a part of His satisfying the needs of your soul; that's all right. Things in themselves are not sinful. What is sinful is saying, “I will get this thing; then I will be satisfied.”

God says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these things will be added to you. Your Father knows what things you have need of.” So many times, even as Christians, we think that if we can get this thing, then we will be satisfied. What we need to say is, “God, will you satisfy my soul? Lord, it seems to me that having this thing would satisfy my soul, but You are the One Who really knows what I need, and I am only asking for satisfaction of my soul.” That is the difference.

The lust of the eyes. That is the idea that if I can see it, then I ought to be able to enjoy it. It is tied in with possessions, but it really is more than that. It is really covetousness. It is looking at something that somebody else has perhaps or something that is beyond the financial reach that God has given us to have. Again, taking matters into our own hands: I see that. I like it and I want it to be mine; or I see that, I like that and I want to spend all of my time looking at that. God says, “I will give you things that satisfy your soul.” Worldliness says, “I will be satisfied by looking at that thing or spending all that time looking at it.

I think the pride of life is tied in primarily with possessions and with achievements—maybe not physical possessions by achievement of titles or degrees or record. The pride of life is satisfying our soul with what we have achieved, what we have accomplished, what we have been able to purchase. It is to be able to take our satisfaction from the fact that other people can see. We take pride in the fact that people can see how great we are. But again, your Heavenly Father knows that you have need of approval. The Father knows that we function well when other people are encouraging us, and that is why, in His instructions to us as believers, he includes many times in those instructions to encourage each other, praise each other, bear each others' burdens. He knows that we need encouragement. We need approval. We need acceptance. We need relationships. But the pride of life says, “I will get that approval for myself. I will accomplish this. I will buy that. I will get that degree. I will establish that track record and then people will approve of me and accept me.” That is the world's system, and to some it appears to work. There are people who have really accomplished that. They have a lot of attention from other people because of what they are able to buy and what they have been able to achieve. There are people who have been able to accomplish the lust of the flesh. They have satisfied the flesh. They have all the things that they might want. There are people who satisfy the lust of the eye, and they have been able to spend their time looking at all these beautiful things and involving themselves in all these beautiful things that the eye can see. But that is where verse 17 comes in. In verse 17, we have the exhortation:

I John 2:

17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Here is the issue. It is possible to love the world. In fact, it is dangerously possible to love the world, to have as our orientation all these things that we have been talking about, to plow toward these things that the world says will bring rest unto our souls—the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. If we move toward those things, we will not find satisfaction. God says, “If you will plow toward pleasing Me, if you will plow toward doing those things that I tell you to do, if you will plow towards getting to know Me better, if you will plow toward obeying Me, you will find rest unto your soul.”

Fatal Flaw of Choosing The World

Without verse 17, that would seem like a fairly equal choice, wouldn't it? It seems like we might find satisfaction for our souls more quickly by going with the world. After all, Jesus tells us all these things not to do and all these things that are hard to do if we want to do them. Probably, it would be quicker to do it the way everyone else is doing and plow toward the world system. There is one fatal flaw in that reasoning, and that is in verse 17. The world is passing away.

Recently, I heard an illustration of this, and maybe you have heard it, too. It is a quotation of a man who said, “I spent my whole life climbing the ladder, and I got to the top rung and realized that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.” That is what John is saying here. Don't invest your life in the world system because the world is passing away. You may achieve some degree of rest for your soul by following the world system, but it is all going to come to nothing. James Dobson describes this concept of playing Monopoly, and at the end of the Monopoly game, all the pieces have to be put back in the box. God lets us play Monopoly on this world with real money and with real things and with time, but there comes a day when all of that has to fit back in the box, and you will stand before the Judgment Bar of God and account for what you have done with this time and this money and these blessings that God has given to the whole human race. The world is passing away and the lust of it, but notice the last line in verse 17: “He who does the will of God abides forever.”

Paul wrote to Timothy that bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable both for this life and for that which is to come. I think that is John's thought here. Sure you can achieve some satisfaction in this life. You will have to knock yourself out for it. You will have to make that your life's goal. You will have to make that your orientation, your foundation, and you might achieve it. But it is only profitable for this life. At the end of this life, what have you got? Maybe if you have been very fortunate, there is something you can pass on to your heirs. Solomon, as he looked at life from the worldly viewpoint, the life without God, pointed out very wisely, “A man who leaves his fortune to those who come after him cannot control what they do with it.” You can knock yourself out in the world system and maybe you find some part of satisfaction for your soul, but you have to leave it all behind in the hands of others who may use it in ways you would have never intended your hard work to be used. The world is passing away, the lust thereof, but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Is God saying, “I don't want you to have nice clothes; I don't want you to have nice cars; I don't want you to have nice homes; I don't want you to eat well; I don't want you have any fun?” Well, yes and no. What God is saying is, “I want to satisfy your soul, and I may satisfy your soul whether I do it for somebody else or not. I may satisfy your soul by giving you many nice things and many great experiences or I may satisfy your soul because I know what it is to really satisfy your souls by keeping a lot of those things from you; but by working in your heart in some other way, I will satisfy your soul, and I know what it takes to satisfy your soul. You put the matter in My hand. Let Me satisfy your soul. Don't lock into the world system. Let Me satisfy your soul.”

It is no secret; it is a matter of biblical record that God has allowed many believers to have many things, much wealth, much accumulation, much pleasure, much travel, much money. God sometimes allows that to believers. In fact, I think as we look around us with all the privileges that even the poorest among us have in this world today, it is obvious that God allows us to have many of the things of this world. He abundantly showers things on us, but there are other believers whom He loves just as much, people for whom He died, from whom He withholds a great many things. In fact, a third of the world has born-again believing Christians who live in hovels, and God satisfies their souls, too. You see, the satisfaction of the soul, the meeting of our true needs, is not tied in with these material things that the world system is built around.


The mark of maturity (Remember the context in which these verses come.) or a mature Christian is one who can say, “I'll trust the Lord to satisfy my soul. I will trust the Lord to meet my true needs. I'll trust the Lord with my business, with my activity, with my energy, with what I invest myself in. I'll plow toward that goal. I'll build on that foundation. I'll navigate by that star and trust Him to do what He knows is best for me.” The world is passing away “and the lust thereof, but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

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