Walking in the Ways of the World

by Dr. Ken Matto

(1 Sam 8:5 KJV) And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

This verse is found in one of the saddest chapters in the Bible. Israel wanted to be like the surrounding nations and have a king to lead them. This thing displeased Samuel but God assured him that it wasn’t him they were rejecting, they were rejecting the direct rule of God. God had brought them out of Egypt by literally decimating Egypt. He showed them kindness while the Egyptians were suffering the ten plagues, the children of Israel were unaffected by them. God had guided them through many trials and many attacks by the surrounding nations, of which they wanted to emulate by having a human king over them. Israel did not want to have God as their king. In fact, they always looked to human leadership even in the time of Christ. (Luke 19:14 KJV) But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. Christ told this story when He was being rejected by Israel. Israel had proven time and time again they wanted nothing to do with God nor His Son. Yet, they claimed to have a special relationship with Him. It seems they only wanted God when the times got tough and needed deliverance.

Before we totally criticize Israel for their rejection of God, let us look at our own lives. Is there anything in our own little world that spells rejection of God? Oh, we may not think of it as rejecting God but our actions will prove otherwise. What was one of the main things that the nation of Israel desired? They wanted to be like the surrounding nations. The problem is that the surrounding nations were all pagan and filled with false religions. These nations did nothing but harass and attempt to annihilate Israel and yet, in their sinful desires, they wanted to be like them. That same way of thinking is still with us today. We know, without guessing, that both alcohol and tobacco are killers to the human body. Yet, how many Christians smoke and drink alcohol. Some may say that beer isn’t that bad, but it contains anywhere from 3.3 to 32% alcohol, depending on your brand. Ethyl alcohol is a killer to the liver and destroys it. God tells us that we are not to murder and that not only means others, but ourselves too. We were created in the image of God by means of redemption, and drinking and smoking does not embody the new life.

Now smoking and drinking are not the only vices that Christians partake in but I picked on those two because they basically represent items that the world likes. Now why do Christians partake in worldly things? It is very simple, they do it for two reasons, 1) They don’t want to appear overly religious; and 2) They still want to partake of the worldly things.

Now a Christian who does not want to look religious is a good thing. False piety is disgusting. Have you ever had a friend or even someone you knew who spoke to you in their normal voice and then you had the privilege of hearing them pray in public? When they were praying, what voice did they use? Was it the “religious voice?” You know that weak, quivering voice that is supposed to impress God. Now that is the type of religiosity that a Christian needs to stay away from. The real issue is that the Christian who is concerned about seeming overly religious, is not concerning themselves about that. They are concerning themselves that if they lived the separated Christian life, they may lose all their business contacts, or not be invited to the local golf club. My what if their Masonic Lodge or Eastern Star found out they were Christian. Would they still give them the opportunity to worship Satan in the lodge with all the unbelievers? Christians fear the moniker of being religious because they live the Christian life. Well, either you serve Christ or you serve Satan? The Bible tells the Christian that we are to live a separated life in the world but that does not mean we are to live according to the world. I personally know some Homosexuals but that doesn’t mean I am going to become one. We can mingle with people and still be separated from their sinful ways. If you look at the history of ancient Israel, they mingled with the surrounding people but instead of becoming a light to them, they were drawn into their lifestyles.

Then the other reason Christians partake in worldly things is because they want to. There is very little understanding of what the separated life is in the Christian community. Many feel that it is their one hour of holy obligation on Sunday morning, which has as much impact on their Christian walk as a squirt gun does on a forest fire. The Christian walk must be engaged seven days a week. Going to church on Sunday means nothing if it does not provoke you into a closer walk with the Lord. Go into the average Christian home and you will see the same toys that the unsaved neighbors have. You may see a Santa Claus and Reindeer on their front lawn too. Instead, try putting up a manger scene with a sign like, “Hey ACLU, try removing this one!” Make a stand for Christ, even though it will cost you. A Christian cannot walk with the world and expect to be a witness to them. What unbelievers see is your commitment to Christ and not your compromise. It does get noticed. How do you answer the unbeliever when they say to you, “what is the difference between your life and mine?” If you are walking with the Lord, it will be easy to answer, but if you are a habitual compromiser, you will be unable to answer because your life is the same as the surrounding neighbors. On Christmas, what will be your testimony, Santa Claus or Christ? You see, it does come down to rejection of God’s ways. How far have you strayed from the thin line of separation that God requires?  (12/19/03)