The Pull of the World

In September last year when my husband arrived from a three-day prayer and fasting in our church’s fasting house in Pampanga, I asked why he didn’t go straight to work which he was wont to do in years past. In the earlier years after our salvation, whenever he came back from the fasting house, he never failed to visit the office on the same day. Except that time when he fasted for 15 days, he always came home radiant and showing perfect health and strength, like he didn’t abstain from food for three days. That last time, however, I noticed him looking emaciated and tired.

pull of the world

“I’m still feeling weak,” he answered. He just confirmed what I’d been suspecting. I told him about my observations of his fastings in previous years and the recent ones and he acknowledged that yes, it was different now. I was emboldened to tell him why it was so.

Months before he finally decided to leave for the fasting house, I was fervently praying that the Lord would speak to him and prod him to go back to his first works. And every time I did, I felt a resistance to my prayer, a struggle. The Lord was telling me that we had gone so far away from the spiritual zeal that we used to have. The gradual shift from our burning spirituality to one which was affected by secularism in recent years has somehow weakened our confidence and watered down the faith that can move mountains we used to have. I knew that and I could feel that deep within me. Because of this, I prayed the more urgently and passionately, acknowledging our faults and failings.

I put the blame on this: When we opened our doors to the Internet and social media, our focus began to shift. Ever so gradually, but it happened.

The years following our salvation, our world revolved around Church, morning and evening praise and worship, prayers, regular 3-day prayer and fasting for my husband, Bible reading (I only read the Holy Bible then, many times a day), and crusades during summer. It was rather a closed world, hedged by God’s Holy Spirit.

Then social media came to our life. In late 2010, I created my very first: Twitter. I shared encouraging tweets and verses everyday. A few months later, I created my blog, Minister of Mercy, where I wrote and shared the many amazing testimonies in our Church. Later on, I felt I wanted to write some more and share my life in the Lord and His Word to the world. So, I created Our Healing Moments and began to write in earnest. Both were gifts from heaven. My territory expanded outside the boundaries of our home. The world opened up before my eyes as the Internet broke down barriers between continents and I was introduced to the community of Christian bloggers. It was a gradual but very rewarding process. It was a time of stepping out into the world again, albeit virtually.

It was much later that I entered Facebook for the sole purpose of creating a page for my blogs and be able to share to a wider readership. There was a certain degree of apprehension on my part at first. Although I was already into blogging, I didn’t want to totally break down the walls around my private world of only God, Church, family, and a few choice neighbors. I had become used to that world, a far cry from my years of career and business. Being ill and weak, I felt safe and secure in that world.

But in the end, I had my FB account and to make the story short, I was again in the world through social media. Not long afterwards, Felix created his own FB account. Gradually (and I really observed this closely), members from our Church, from the least to the greatest, joined in. My FB community has burgeoned into proportions I didn’t quite expect. The opportunity to share my writings through my blogs has gradually increased and continues to do so. I’m really thankful for that. But somehow, we have changed, and that change is largely influenced by FB.

I now lament that instead of being soaked up with the things of God, to some degree, we are being drenched with secular things, just by lingering on that seemingly endless FB newsfeed. It is not as much as spending too much precious time there that should have been wisely spent in Bible reading and meditation, prayer and worship as it is an influencer of one’s mindset, affections, and desires.

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom. 8:6 ESV)

I told my husband that our immersion in social media has diluted the anointing, the density of our spirituality, and has somehow doused our fiery faith. He could only agree. In the past, he offered prayer and fasting every three months. Now, eight months had passed before the last one. The Lord warns us:

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. (Rev. 2:4-5)

At the end of our conversation, my husband and I both agreed that complete and steadfast obedience to God and His will is always the most excellent way, for us to be in His perpetual remembrance and favor. We both saw the benefit of laying up treasures in heaven and investing on future needs being met and God’s blessings in general through fervent, faithful, intentional, and unceasing prayers now.

The Lord Jesus said that we are salt and light.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (Mat. 5:13)

Our saltiness will lose its potency when we adopt the ways of the world instead of being a light to it. When that happens, the Master will find no use for us. But it’s never too late to purge ourselves of the pollution of this world. Apostle Paul encourages us:

 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Tim. 2:21)

The chameleon’s color changes according to its environment. When we linger too long in the world, like the chameleon, we will adapt its color. But when we faithfully abide in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be conformed to His image as God has predestined us to be (see Rom. 8:29).

That night, I lay in bed in our already dim and quiet room as I listened to praise music. I still can’t sing, my diaphragm being weak. But when I don’t enter the presence of the Lord through worship, the more that weaknesses catch up on me.

We only realize how hungry we are of God when we are already being filled by Him through worship. We realize that all those times spent fretting and worrying would have been prevented by intentionally abiding in His glorious presence.

Something miraculous happens in praise and worship. Even when we are just listening and not able to sing, when we put our all into it, the Lord transforms us from inside out.

So I lay still and just let the Lord love on me, whisper words of comfort and courage, strengthen me, expand my heart and mind, feed my soul. Heaven drew near and the love of Jesus was a tangible thing. Tears escaped from the corner of my eye.

(Photo credit: Jose Luis Casti via Flickr).

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Comments

  1. Maria says:

    Ouch!!!! This message was for me. Thank you! Beautifully written! The pull of the world is subtle at times and now that I am back in the workplace full time I’ve noticed subtle changes in myself. I’m grateful for this reminder that we must return to our first love, Jesus Christ and Him alone. Thank you!

  2. Naomi says:

    Your post brings to mind 2 Timothy 2:4 “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life…” Oh how easy we become distracted. It’s the seemingly little things that creep in so quiet and subtle and before you know it our love has cooled for our Saviour. I often remind myself of the song “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, and the things on earth will grow strangely dim…”
    Blessings to you

    • RinaPeru says:

      You’ve nailed it so perfectly, Naomi – glory to God. Thank you for contributing to this post with your insightful comment. And I love that song, too. It often comes to me in the quiet places.

  3. Lisa notes says:

    It’s amazing how so many things in this world can distract us from our true love, even good things! Thanks for sharing this moment with us so we can be watchful in our own lives.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Yes, Lisa, even good things. Thank you for emphasising that. And we are grateful to the Holy Spirit’s close guidance – He gives us discernment.

  4. Perla Frisberg says:

    This is what I was really thinking these days… I felt like I’m so consumed with all the social media lately and I can only say , that, I have this burden that my devotion to God is somewhat being tainted because of the “worldly pleasures” in exchange for a temporary satisfaction. Though, I go to church religiously, I feel that it’s not enough…I’m hunger for more. Thanks for the testimony, Rina!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Manang Perla, I am right now in awe of the amazing and powerful love of our Lord Jesus Christ – for Him to be nudging you and stirring up your heart to look closely into these things that are of utmost importance in our faith walk. He really is faithful like that! I pray that He will continue to guide you into His love and presence in quietness and away from the frivolities of the world.

  5. Hazel Moon says:

    All things must be in moderation, and that includes FB. I have a Twitter account but only use it to post my blog notices. FB is also a ministry but must not be abused. Our first LOVE must be Jesus and keeping our relationship with Him fresh always. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

    • RinaPeru says:

      That is true, dear Hazel. That and the fact that we should not let it influence our thoughts and affections in such a way that we will desire things that are not of God’s perfect will, as if we’re entitled to them.

  6. Kristina says:

    Hello! Wow what powerful words! I can say that I feel the same way but sadly not as convicted as you. You have got me thinking. Where can we find the balance? Or is stripping it completely away the answer? I don’t know. There is something inside that still wants to hold onto it but I know God wants all of me. It is such a struggle. I just keep on praying that I can be broken in Him. Thanks again. Also I am new to the Missional Women link up. Check me out on #78

    • RinaPeru says:

      I believe it depends on the purpose and motives, Kristina. You will not see most of the preachers and prayer warriors of our Church (Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry) on FB or other social media. They totally dedicate themselves to preaching the Gospel, winning souls, healing the sick, and praying and fasting regularly. They are so blessed, true saints of God. But there are more from our Church who are on FB and are active there, including me. I use it to share my blog posts and other encouraging posts and also to connect with family, Church family, and friends.

      I think what we need to do is to not let it influence our strong spirituality or change us in such a way that our love and devotion to the Lord wane.

  7. Sandra J says:

    Thanks for sharing and reminding us all how easy it is to lose our saltiness, to get diluted and, perhaps, polluted, by the things around us. Pursuing God wholeheartedly is a continual battle. Blessings!

    • RinaPeru says:

      It is indeed a continual battle, Sandra. If we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s whisperings, we will know that He’s leading us and inspiring us to continually enrich our relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ. This should be an undying flame and motivation for our every thought, affection, desire, motive, and action.

  8. barbie says:

    There is so much wisdom here. I am so easily distracted away from my first love by other things. Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed wee!

    • RinaPeru says:

      We are, aren’t we, Barbie? But the Holy Spirit – He is ever faithful to whisper to us, to stir our hearts and nudge us to draw closer to God.

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