The Word of God plainly teaches that the world plays a factor in shaping the character of man; especially if he lives apart from the intervention of the Father through the Holy Spirit. We need to recognize that the world is a bad influence on us. The Christian should be so different from the world in character that it is noticeable to all. We are kingdom saints representing a heavenly kingdom. If people cannot tell you are a Christian by how you live there is a problem. How does Scripture address our relationship to the world?
Paul, in Colossians 2:8, warns us not to follow the teaching of the world which wants to draw us away from Christ and His teachings and instruct us in its philosophy,
See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah). (Amplified)
James makes a distinction between relationship with God and with the world in James 4:4,
You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God. (Amplified)
John also addresses this simply in 1 John 2:15-17,
Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things] – these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings [the passionate desires, the lust] of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever. (Amplified)
Before we look at how this Beatitude played out in those people’s lives that the Bible portray for our learning (1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 15:4) let us observe Matthew 5:3 in the Amplified Bible
Blessed – happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous [that is, with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions] – are the poor in spirit (the humble, rating themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
I pray that we all desire to heed this Beatitude. Take note that choosing self over God is pride, and that is where all sin begins. Let us make the choice to build character God’s way and avoid the life of pride. Live the life God intended for you; a life that was bought by the blood of our Savior. Choosing self and all its manifestations (selfishness, self-will, self-confidence, self- improvement, self-esteem, self-image, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, self-assertion, self-regard, self-love, self-exaltation, self-deification, self-delusion, self-destruction, self-deceived, self-absorbed, self-serving, self-governing, etc.) is clearly the character of the world and is contrary to Christian character. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 describes these as such and warns that this character of the world will become more and more prevalent in those around us,
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. (NASB)
Do not fall into the trap of the world. Build Christian character instead. With Christian character we can become better witnesses for Jesus and reap the blessing and happiness associated with this Beatitude – the kingdom of heaven. No longer shackled with the burden of self we become truly free to be used of God.
Continue to make the choice of choosing God over the self. Pray that you do not hold any feeling for this world and its snares. The world is as much an enemy as the self and can easily take our focus away from where it should be – on Jesus. Pray that you become single-minded with all your attention on the Lord and quit giving the world a second thought.