Proverbs 23:17-18 – “Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. 18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.”
John, the beloved apostle of Jesus Christ and author of Revelation, writes concerning the church in Laodicea [a church I believe is a picture of today’s church]:
Revelation 3:15-17– “I know thy works [deeds], that thou art neither cold [having rejected Christ outright] nor hot [having spiritual fervor]: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm [spiritually indifferent], and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth [as one made sick]. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not [spiritually deceived] that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked [describing the spiritual condition of the church]:”
The 21st century church is a carnal, worldly-minded church. Church members who love the world and deny themselves few worldly pleasures fill America’s Gospel preaching churches. The majority of professing Christians have cast off any aversions to worldliness and favor a masquerade of pseudo-piety over God’s command that we be a holy people (1 Peter 1:15-16), unwilling to allow this world to fashion us into its mold (Romans 12:1-2).
Every 21st century Christian should aspire to Solomon’s challenge in today’s proverbs.
Proverbs 23:17-18 – “Let not thine heart [mind; thoughts] envy [provoked to jealousy] sinners [offenders of God’s Law]: but be thou in the fear [and reverence] of the LORD [Jehovah; Eternal, Self-existent God] all the day long [all day, everyday]. 18 For surely there is [exists; abides] an end [outcome]; and thine expectation[hope; confident expectation] shall not be cut off [destroyed; consumed].”
I cannot read Proverbs 23:17-18 without my thoughts being drawn to some of the great saints of the Scriptures who “had the world at their feet”, but rejected its temporal pleasures.
Noah, living in a world given wholly to sin, built an ark to save his family from God’s judgment (Genesis 6:5-8). Abraham believed God’s promises and, leaving his home, kinsmen and country sojourned to a land he had not seen, but one God had promised him and his heirs [although he and his wife were old and had no children] (Genesis 12:1-3; Hebrews 11:8-10).
Joseph did not allow bitterness to take root in his soul nor allow the advances of another man’s wife to dissuade him from honoring God (Genesis 39:7-21; 45:3-5; 50:20-21). Moses, the son of Hebrew parents, but raised as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, refused earthly wealth and position by identifying himself with God and His people (Hebrews 11:23-27). Daniel, choosing to honor God and obey His Law, refused to defile himself with the king’s wine and meat (Daniel 1:8).
My friend, the majority of today’s professing Christians make no pretense of living a holy life, separate from the world and its hedonistic pleasures. Too many of us content ourselves with being “good enough”. Too few of us are willing to love and revere God, deny ourselves worldly amusements and hope to an expected, eternal reward.
1 John 2:15-17 – “Love 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. 16 For 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. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith