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Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 14 March 2013

A NEEDED NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

By Jim Jordal

 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.

I John 2:15-17, NKJV

One of the most meaningful New Year’s resolutions you could make is the simple decision to begin detaching yourself from the glitz, glamour, and greed of the present world system. No, I don’t mean you should sell everything and move into a mountaintop cave, nor that you should reject the beautiful world of nature. But I do mean that you could begin thinking seriously about the hold the world system has on you, and how you might begin moving away from it in spirit if not in flesh.

This issue is brought forth most graphically at the Christmas season when what should be a joyous celebration of gifts given and received in the true spirit of love, peace and joy turns into a virtual orgy of greedily shoving and pushing to gain a few more of the world’s essentially meaningless baubles. We and our commercialized culture should be heartily ashamed of what we have done to Christmas.

One thing you could do next Christmas is refuse to join the greedy, driven crowds on Black Friday seeking a few bargains on goods that you most likely don’t need. If you keep participating in this madness, store managers in their drive to enhance market share will keep pushing opening hours up until they manage to take over Thanksgiving also.

Another thing you could do is limit gift giving within your extended family to children only. Adults do not need more "things;" what they really need is for you to pay attention to them as they speak of their life’s joys and sorrows. They need the gift of your love and acceptance far more than they need your material goods. They need your consolation in their trials and your gracious joyful sharing in their victories and achievements much more than they need more things.

But some do have serious need for the world’s goods in the form of food, clothing and shelter. In this case be generous and without judgment as to why they need these things. Just be thankful God has spared you from this desperate need. And along with your charity also give the more scarce gift of you advocacy against the world’s systems causing dire destitution and need. Write a few letters to your Congresspersons, or to the editor of your newspaper. Along with asking and giving charity, begin asking why people are poor and what you can do about that. And why it is that we can’t seem to bring ourselves to add a few percentage points to the taxes billionaires pay, but don’t have trouble cutting the remaining lifelines for the poor.

Scripture advises in several places the principle that we live in the world, but are not of the world. That phrase states the issue quite clearly: We live in the physical world by necessity, but dwell in the spiritual world by choice. We are born into the physical world, but join the spiritual world later as we make choices concerning how we will accept and respond to it.

Jesus said, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." If your treasure consists of things and wealth, then that’s where your heart, or attention and values will be. Your life will be expended in lusting and searching for things that have no eternal meaning. You will suffer feelings of deprivation when you don’t have them, and will miss most of the simple joy associated with just being present in God’s world of love, joy and peace.

As Jesus said, "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" If you heed the siren song of the world you’ll think you are really living when you enter the rat race of seeking, getting and accumulating. But you’ll be far from the kingdom of God.

So give the matter some thought next time the Christmas Season rolls around. And think about it during the remainder of the year. Remember, it’s not nature you’re rejecting, but the domination system’s world of greed, injustice and oppression that you refuse. You may not be physically able to leave it, but you can with God’s help reduce its grip upon your heart and soul.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1978, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.