Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The World, The Flesh, and The Devil

From all inordinate and sinful affections; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,
Good Lord, deliver us.
Book of Common Prayer

This morning, I was reminded by Tim Keller that we Christians are facing a three man tag team, the world, the flesh, and the devil. While fighting one of these opponents, don’t forget there are two more standing outside the ring ropes just waiting for the moment when the referee turns his back.

The world contains all sorts of temptations. Advertisers make certain that we know that the world is filled with really cool, sexy looking people enjoying every good thing that life has to offer.

“Here, try one of these, little girl. They will not harm you.”

Then our flesh kicks in. We want to be one of those cool people. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life are a part of all us, a part of being human. No matter how “spiritual,” we want that luxury vacation to Europe. We want a diamond tennis bracelet that costs more than a new car. We want the job that comes with the corner office on the top floor of the headquarters building. We want to have sex with somebody who looks like ……? Go ahead, be honest and fill in the blank. I’ll never tell.

Yesterday, I received a copy of APEX magazine, a publication sent to select owners of Acura automobiles. They use to distribute a less prestigious looking version of this magazine. I really enjoyed it. They published the facts and figures on all their new cars, along with articles showing attractive sophisticated people driving Acuras on various adventures to an assortment of fashionable events held at exceptionally luxurious venues. They also advertized other products, like really expensive watches, that I found highly desirable. When I stopped receiving the magazine, I called up the company to ask what happened. They told me they planned to relaunch a new version the magazine next year as an electronic publication. However, when I discovered a few print copies would be available, I asked to be added to the list.

The premiere edition of APEX features the new 2017 Acura NSX, a 573 horsepower, $170,000 technological tour de force that hits all my happy buttons. As a mechanical engineer who loves super-cars, sports cars, and luxury cars, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life are jumping up and down with glee. Since the primary purpose of this publication is to impress the reader with the uncompromising excellence that goes into every aspect of the design and construction of Acura products, there aren’t any glossy photographs of supermodels caressing super-cars, so the lust of the flesh had to take a back seat (except there isn’t a back seat in a NSX).

Oh, well.

What works on you? We are warned to be in the world but not of it. Do you ever covet your neighbor’s car, his house, his wife, his TV?

Just asking.

The flesh is still hard at work, even in elderly men suffering from Alzheimer’s. I watched a number of them enjoying a movie from their middle years featuring a young Marilyn Monroe. I have never seen so many of these patients focusing so intently on anything for such a long period of time.

Then the Devil, the accuser of the brethren, jumps over the ring rope and opens with, “And you call yourself a Christian?”

1st John Chapter 2: 15-17

Do not love the world nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

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