by Kenneth O. Peterman
Faith allows us to overcome the ungodly world system in which we live.
First John 5:4 says, For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. The word translated world does not refer to the world of matter or to the world of nature or to the world of humanity, but to the system of ungodly principles that governs unbelievers. The shield of faith successfully deals with the principles of the ungodly world system.
In chapter 2:16 of this same epistle, John categorizes the contents of the ungodly world system when he says, for all that is in the world (system), 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 (system).
The lust of the flesh includes the fiery darts of uncontrolled passion, impurity, indulgence and independence from God. The lust of the eyes includes the fiery darts of greed, shameless self-promotion, pomp, and selfishness. The pride of life includes the fiery darts of arrogance, pride, personal ambition, status-seeking, and self-glorification. We have all seen these fiery darts destroy friendships, cause divorce, encourage suicide, produce mental and emotions breakdowns, and induce financial ruin.
We utilize the shield of faith against the world system when we:
Combat the lust of the flesh through holiness.
Foundational verse: 1 Corinthians 6:10, 11 says, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
We overcome the lust of the flesh when we:
Think and meditate upon good and godly things: Philippians 4:8 says, Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Love one another: 1 Timothy 1:5 says, Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience and of faith unfeigned . . .
Flee youthful lusts: 2 Timothy 2:22 (a) says, Flee also youthful lusts,
Follow righteous living: 2 Timothy 2:22 (b) says, but follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Avoid temptation: 2 Corinthians 10:13 says, There has no temptation taken you but such as in common to man; but God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted above that you are able, but will, with the temptation, also make the way to escape that you may be able to bear it.
God promises to sustain us in holiness. Our holiness does not depend upon our own strength but on the promises of God.
Combat the lust of the eyes through hospitality.
Foundational verse: Romans 12:13 says, Distributing to the necessity of the saints; given to hospitality.
We combat the lust of the eyes when we:
Give to needy believers: Romans 12:13 says, Distributing to the necessity of the saints; given to hospitality.
Visit those in prison: Hebrews 13:2 says, Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them who suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
Serve others in need with our time, money, and energy: 1 Peter 4:9 says, Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
It’s difficult to be greedy and selfish when you are serving others by sharing your money, time, and energy.
Combat the pride of life through humility.
Foundational verse: Ephesians 4:1 says, I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation to which you are called . . .
We combat the pride of life when we:
Forbear one another in love: Ephesians 4:2 says, With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love,
Keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace: Ephesians 4:3 says, Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Do nothing through strife or vainglory: Philippians 2:3 says, (a) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory. . .
Consider others first: Philippians 2:3 (b) says, . . . but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Submit to the elder: 1 Peter 5:5 (a) says, . . . you younger, submit yourselves unto the elder . . .
Subject yourselves one to another: 1 Peter 5:5 (b) says, . . . Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility . . .
God does not expect us to conjure up the ability to be holy; He provides that ability through the indwelling presence and control of the Holy Spirit of God. As we yield to the Spirit, holiness is a natural result. The more time we spend in holy pursuits, the less time will be spent pursuing deeds of arrogance and pride.