Saturday, February 09, 2008

This World

There was a phrase in a song at church last week that really got me thinking. I've been ruminating on it all week, and I'm still praying about where my heart should be on this, but I thought I'd post about it and see if anybody else had any thoughts.

I can't remember what the song was or what the rest of it was about, but the bridge section of the song kept repeating the phrase "This world has nothing for me." I couldn't sing it, and just the very thought of saying something like that made me want to cry. My first thought upon reading it was that it was the same thing as saying "My baby means nothing to me," or my husband or my family or friends. I even instinctively put my hands over my belly as if to protect my baby from the very thought that he meant nothing to me.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand the concept they're going for here.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. ~ Philippians 3:7-8
When compared to the value of knowing Christ, all things on this earth are of far less value. All my relationships and activities on earth ARE meaningless without Christ to give them value and purpose. Only Christ is eternal, and I need to do a much better job of keeping this perspective on things. I know that I place far too much value in the things and people that I love on this earth, and this is what I've been praying about all week.

However, I don't think it's right to go so far as to say that everything on this earth is nothing to me. I believe that our relationships and activities here on this earth are very important, and they do have eternal value. God doesn't want us to be so wrapped up in Christ that we dismiss everything and everyone else as unimportant. The vast majority of God's instructions to us as New Testament believers are about how we live on this earth, how we treat other people, how deeply we love, and how we represent Him to an unbelieving world.

So I feel like it's careless, even in a song at church, to say "This world has nothing for me." Acknowledging that the world to come is of far greater value, I'm still going to do all I can to make my life on this earth valuable too. Justin suggested that if I'm ever confronted with a song like this again, I could change the lyric to something like "Worldliness has nothing for me." That's something I can agree with.

Does anybody have any thoughts on this? I'd love to hear another perspective.


Shauna said...

Hey Joni!

Reading your post reminded me of the song, People Get Ready...Jesus is Coming by Crystal Lewis. I don't know if this is the song you are talking about or not, but there is a line in the song that reads, "This world has nothing for me. I find my peace and joy soley in you. Only in You."
For me, the song is just about focusing on the Lord's return and not finding sole contentment in anything but Christ. So, I think this song is somehow meant to encourage others to "get ready" and to make sure that they "know Him well." I think that Justin's suggestion is right on. While there is a lot of joy and love that we as Christians will experience in our walk here on earth, this world truly is not our home. So, again I think the song is just trying to pull Christians and non-Christians away from living for the world and themselves, but instead focus on Christ'coming. Good thoughts, Joni.

Jessica said...

Sorry it took me so long to comment . . .

I find I have to change the words to lots of songs we sing at church. I always wonder if I'm just too uptight, but I can't bring myself to sing words to God that I don't mean.

The one that makes me laugh the most (this isn't a serious theological point, it just makes me giggle) is the song "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever." Way back when we were working at Centrifuge, the praise band would end one night with this song, and they would sing it over and over and over. It really felt like they were going to sing of God's love forever. Of course, the kids didn't mind because they only experienced this worship time once. We staff, however, experienced this once a week all summer. I got to where I just couldn't sing the word "forever" because I wasn't sure I really could sing it forever. If that was a test of Christian endurance, I failed.

Anyway, I think it's good to really think about the words of songs, because we are singing them from our heart to God. Insincere worship can't sound as sweet to Him.

Jackie said...

I remember a song that went like this, "This world has nothing for me, and this world has everything. All that I could want, and nothing that I need." To me it is about being eternally minded and not temporal since it all fades away. You're right that the only things of worth (relationships) are given their value because of our relationship with Christ.
Good to hear you and baby are doing well- I love the cute "bump" pics!