Wednesday, 6 August 2014
…and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away. 1 Corinthians 7:31
This verse finishes the thought analyzed in the preceding two verses. Again, to get clarity, we can take the first portion and apply his words to this final section. It would thus read as follows –
“But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on…those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.”
Today for this final portion of the thought, Paul says that “those who use this world” should use it “as not misusing it.” This is speaking of the excess of life that can so easily ensnare us. We live in the world and must use the things of the world to continue to exist, but we are not to allow them to become our prime focus or center of hope and contentment.
Instead, we are to continually reevaluate our state and remember that those things we use and possess all came from the Creator and they are temporary, as is our very body. All these things are “passing away.” But there is a greater and eternal hope for those who have called on Christ. If our lives are filled with the lust of the world, then we have shown that this world is our desire and that God is less important to us than the world. John speaks of this exact thought, along with the transitory nature of this world, in his first epistle –
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
Those things around us which seem fixed and firm are not. Even the mountains erode and can be leveled through a large cataclysm. If such magnificent and seemingly permanent structures are temporary, how much more those things we possess! The terminology for that which “is passing away” calls to mind the fleeting scenes of a movie. Our eyes take in the information and our brains process it, but it is actually gone from before us as soon as the next scene comes. It is nothing but a memory. This is exactly what Solomon speaks of in the book of Ecclesiastes. In his opening words, he says this –
“‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.'” Ecclesiastes 1:2
The word for “vanity” in this verse is havel. It literally means “vapor,” or “breath.” Solomon warns that just as exhaled breath on a cold morning quickly disappears, so is the sudden disappearance of the world around us. Everything is fleeting except God. Because this is so, we are admonished to call on Him and then remember Him now while we still have the chance. Someday, all things will be made new for those who have called on Christ. It will be an entirely different order and one which will endure for all eternity.
Life application: Don’t get so caught up in this temporary world that you miss the greater and eternal world to come. Don’t miss out on Christ!
Heavenly Father, everything that I used to think was permanent and lasting is actually just a temporary vapor. The years have quickly gone by and I’m suddenly not a young person any more. Friends have come and gone and the fun things that I thought gave me satisfaction have disappeared, one by one. The only thing that is truly constant is You. As so my hope, my joy, and my anticipation is truly in You alone. How I long for You. My soul is thirsty just for You. Amen.