“So says the Lord, Do not learn the way of the nations”, Jer.10:2 

Many people are fond of movies, music of the world or gospel music with a touch of worldliness. The worst of all things that may come into one’s heart is not worldliness itself (even if it is bad enough to turn God into our enemy), but rather the “way of the nations” which may settle within us, infusing many an unconscious way into our ways of doing, thinking, reasoning, and relating to the Word of God. God is not concerned with the world as much as He is with the way the world fabricates and manufactures things. And the secret is not to withstand worldliness, but rather to be doing things God’s way all the time. When Jesus taught us to pray, He said “Thy will be done as it is done in heaven”. It shows Jesus is more concerned about the way to do God’s will than about the will itself. Not that God’s will is not important, but that there is no way to enter into doing it without entering the narrow way to do it the way it is done in heaven. And by entering into it, there is but God’s will to do there. That’s why God is not as concerned about His will as He is about the heavenly way of doing it. There is a certain way of carrying it out we should get fully acquainted with, so much so that it becomes our nature, our unconscious way of doing everything we are able or allowed to do.

One may come to live and read the words of God the way worldliness would read about it; the same principle could be applied or brought into obeying the words of God were it only possible to obey them without Him. Notwithstanding, the world believes it is possible because it is not. Were it only possible, they would believe otherwise though. Unbelief does that, moves that way in this present age: it only believes lies easily enough.

There is no way one would become a nature by living, desiring, experiencing another kind of nature when we settle ourselves before a worldly kind of entertainment crying the way it cries, laughing for the reasons it is able to laugh, upholding its heroes the way it does, taking revenge or feeling sorrow as self-pity manifests its ways of extorting sentimentality and sensuality out of us, teaching us a certain way to do things that way. There is no way this kind of living will ever teach us the ways of God even when we read or preach the Bible because we may do it all by ways and through the feelings the world explores wisely enough. There is a certain way God does things for the opposite interests and for opposed motives the world would do them. In this generation the people of darkness are wiser than the children of light – but not in the Kingdom of God, though.

Even the encouragement towards whatever we do is different because the goal is another. And truly, encouragement is worked out and done having the goal always in mind. We use the goal to encourage and, depending on what we have our hearts set for, motivation will be there if we make progress towards whatever our ways are headed. Worldly people are encouraged when they gain, the people of God whether they gain or loose as long as they do not loose on God Himself. When we have something else in mind and at heart, we cannot become encouraged God’s way and vice-versa. And by having God’s mind within God’s ways, I really doubt if it is possible to discourage any of us ever. If you want people to be able to walk with God to the end, teach them to be fully dressed with Christ and to have His mind for real within them all as they walk His ways.

Because the would has something in mind, because it is almost unconsciously doing it so deep are the roots of selfishness and sin reigning there, it has arranged a way by which it captivates and carries the mind instinctively towards the very object it has seized or besieged to do or to achieve, even when the truthful end objective is not before the eyes of the conscious mind. People get annoyed especially when their way of doing is corrected or withstood, more than whenever their goal is not reached. A way of doing things does not need the goal to guide itself by as long as it is settled down and is, therefore, able to take over our hearts and minds captive with the way to do. That way just leads to one single object when God’s ways are not our minds: sin and or self – even when it is moral self, polite self or whatever kind of self we are able to talk about. Even a moral kind of pulpit may have and manifest the ways the world does things morally or immorally. On the other hand, any worldly job or thing glorifies God if it is done God’s way for God. The aim of Christ is to do away with “the way of the nations”, to abolish the way the world has in doing, the means and the motives it upholds and defends in doing whatever it does and only then will we be able to do God’s will for Him His way and not for our sakes or our way. As long as, by trying to do things God’s way, we do not become inactive and paralysed somehow because we do not know how to move or move on in accordance with the new way.

God allows us to get into His will – let’s not make a mistake about it. We do not enter His will only because we want to enter it, but because we are fit and are willing to lay down our ways and minds for the sake of the new mind and heart we will get from Christ our Lord Himself. Even when we have forsaken the world and worldliness, we may still stay out of God because we carry with us through stubbornness the mind and the way of the world, which is rooted in us to do anything its way – even God’s will for us. When we do things for ourselves God’s way, it won’t be selfishness at all, even if it is regarded that way. Whenever we do things for others or supposedly for God our way, it is selfishness working its way out right through. Only when we have forsaken all for the sake of God may we come to talk about doing God’s will by the mind and power He has and upholds. But many become inactive and kind of lost then because they do not know how to be led or to live being led and that softly and by God. A mule only knows how to be drawn by force to a place or to do something, and God only knows how to lead softly and through a small, unwavering, unstaggering still voice – however strong it is. A mule does not know how to listen to the instructions that way without feigning and being hypocritical and without thinking and believing itself as better, of having better ways or without believing it knows better how to do things. And, on the other hand, a sound mind does not work out its doings by the ways of hypocrisy and force either. We may accept that God’s kingdom is taken by force at any early stage of it, but we may assume assuredly that none of those who take it that way will ever remain standing in Him carrying on as they have started – at all. We may neither assume that God’s ways are not strong or determined enough because it does not use human strength or ways to achieve whatever it pretends. If we do, we are deceived and influenced either by Satan or by ourselves.

Transgression is not so much the sin of watching a worldly movie or of being at the same place the world goes to have fun and enjoyment. Transgression is to expose the heart to the almost unconscious mind and ways the world has to deal with whatever we are to do. I mean that, if I put corn in a mill, it grinds it; when I put stones in there, it is grinded too. And the world preaches the Bible, prays and does many things a normal and average Christian would do. Even Christ exclaimed in amazed anger and wonder, “Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”, Mat 12:34. A normal person usually speaks according to what is abundant in the heart.

The hardest thing for human minds is not so much to give up on the world and on sin. The hardest test is to give up on the ways it is used to do things. People feel lost by giving up on those issues and ways and feel as if they are committing some kind of suicide by giving up on any of the ways of the nations which have become theirs through the years. Most people doubt God when they give up their own things because they do not feel strong, assured or assuring and convincing anymore. Many depended on convincing others to feel and to be assured before. And God’s ways are sure even when not assuring. They are just sure and strong by themselves and need no commotion or emotional show to be assuring.

The exposure to the ways the world has of doing things (even when what the world does is moral or apparently moral), if we have not the Spirit of God or if we have Him and have not yet made our mind concerning His ways, His love and His hatred, will only cause us to arrange our minds and hearts according to the pattern (or unconscious pattern) the world has to carry out things and, worse even, to the motivation and strength it has to carry it out whatever it does to its own benefit and that alone. By wanting to go to heaven, we may not yet be willing to do God’s will His way but may wish only to save our skin and ways to be able to carry on and deal with whatever we have at hand to save from this world. An adulterer may be kind enough to give a flower to commit adultery. We may just do something good to have and share some of the delights of heaven too. What God wants us to have in mind is that things are done in heaven after a certain way and through a certain power which none can hinder and none can imitate. It does not boast to settle itself nor to be strong and standing. The world’s kindness is aimed at what it believes is romance and happiness of some kind. It fancies a way of hell because it links giving flowers to sinning and to have its ways and accomplishments. We can only perceive that it is the way the world has that easily achieves those goals it has in mind. Giving up on any of those ways makes a worldly Christian feel lost and aimless and will be assuring any Spiritual man or woman in this world of ours. The world has a better way to use its wisdom to its ends. “The children of this generation are wiser than the children of light in their generation” said our Lord, even though it does not mean the world will be wiser in our generation and Kingdom at all. We, who live for God His way, have a better way to carry out those things because we know we were entrusted by Faithfulness Himself.

May we have a goal to live and stick by the Lord and may all we do have the only purpose to know Him as He is and that alone. Then we might be wiser than this generation will ever be. We know that “knowledge (about the Bible and about God) has already run to and fro”. God said to Daniel it would be so. The ones who are godly have, therefore, the responsibility to be cleaner than ever, wiser than ever because knowledge has already run to and fro and is dangerous and upsetting, Dan.12:4,10. Christians may never be upset to the point of adopting the world’s ways to pay back and become grievous themselves. We may not learn the ways of the nations or, if we have already learned them and lived by them for some time, we may not go on without giving up on them all, even its dust, remembrances and smell. We confess sins to become able to forget about them that way too. Christ does that in such a way none will ever be able even to dream about it. Amen.

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José Mateus