COMING OUT OF THE WORLD
Prize Your Time and Choose Well How You SPEND It
As long as we live in our selfish nature, we are unruly and incapable of being ruled, controlled, or led by a Lord or King.
So, if we want Jesus to be our Lord and King, we must first put to death the selfish, sinful nature by repentance to purity.
Jesus leads us out of the world, one step at a time, showing us what to give up, and teaching us how to live.
The end result is purity and then the return of Christ in his glory with his Kingdom of everlasting peace and joy.
Jesus came so he could destroy the devil and his works [sin] in us.
For this purpose the Son of God is revealed [in us], that he might destroy the works of the devil [in us].
Do not Leave the World to Go to a Cave or Monastery
Many people think that to dedicate their life to God requires them to go into a monastery, a nunnery, a cave, some Bible College, or into seminary training. To the contrary, such actions will defeat your spiritual progress. It has been said, that to remove yourself from the world, removes you from the polishing stones of temptation. To remove yourself from temptation, inhibits your growth. We are counseled by the scriptures as follows:
Let every man remain in the same calling in which he was called.
As long as we are in an honest occupation, then we are to remain wherever we were awakened by God's call to seek him.
Let the former thief, steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands in an honest occupation so that he may have excess to give to him who lacks necessities.
And that you aspire to lead a quiet and peaceful life, and to attend to your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.
So that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and gravity.
The Bible calls us to stay out of the world. Be in the world, but be not of the world.
And those who use this world, [use it] as though not absorbed by it and with indifference; for the present form of this world passes away.
I wrote to you in a letter not to keep company with those who are sexually immoral.
But not with the immoral of this world, or with the covetous, or oppressive cheaters, or with idolaters; for then you would have to depart out of the world.
But now I write to you not to keep company with any man who calls himself a Christian and is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an oppressive cheater; do not even eat with such a person.
For while I have no business judging those who are outside the church, are you not supposed to judge those who are within the church?
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into a certain city and remain there a year, and buy and sell, and make a profit."
Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. For what is your life? It is just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Instead you should say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should protect them from the evil.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania wrote extensively on this subject in his great work, No Cross No Crown:
Nor is the life of a recluse, the boasted righteousness of some, much more commendable, or one shred nearer to the nature of the true cross. For if it is not unlawful as other things are, it is unnatural, which true religion does not teach. The true Christian convent and monastery are within the believer, where the soil is enclosed from sin. The true followers of Christ carry this religious house around with them, who do not exempt themselves from the conversation of the world, though they keep themselves from the evil of the world in their conversation. The monastery or nunnery is a lazy, rusty, unprofitable self-denial, burdensome to others to feel their idleness; religious bedlams, where people are kept for fear they should do mischief abroad; patience by force; self-denial against their will, rather ignorant than virtuous; and out of the way of temptation, than content in it. There is nothing to overcome if never tempted. What the eye never sees, the heart doesn't crave, and doesn't rule.
The Cross of Christ is of another nature; it truly overcomes the world, and leads a life of purity in the face of its allurements; those who bear it are not thus chained up for fear they should bite; nor locked up for fear they should be stolen away. No, they receive power from Christ their Captain, to resist the evil, and do what is good in the sight of God. They are changed to despise the world, and love its reproach above its praise. They are led to be inoffensive to others, but love those that offend them, though not for offending them. What a world we would have if everybody, for fear of transgressing, confined himself within four walls! This is not required because the perfection of the Christian life applies and includes every honest labor or trade found among men. Such severe isolation is not the effect of Christ's free spirit, but a voluntary, fleshly humility; mere restraints of their own making and putting on, without command or reason. In all which it is plain they are their own lawgivers, and set their own rule, deprivation, and ransom, a constrained harshness, incompatible with the rest of the creation. For society has one great benefit of the cross, (and it is not to be destroyed for fear of evil); for sin that spoils society is eliminated, by a steady reproof and a conspicuous example of tried virtue. True godliness does not turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it, and excites their efforts to improve the world; not to hide their candle under a bushel, but to set it upon a table in a candlestick. Besides, isolation is a selfish invention; and man's invention can never be the true cross, which is taken up to bring inventions into subjection. But again, this humor runs away from itself, and leaves the world behind to be lost; Christians should keep to the helm, and guide the vessel to its port; not irresponsibly escape to the stern of the world, and leave those that are in it without a pilot, to be driven by the fury of evil times, upon the rock or sand of ruin. Actually, this monastic isolation of life, if taken up by young people, is commonly used to cover idleness, or to pay off inheritances, to save the lazy from the pains of punishment, or the upper class from the disgrace of poverty. One will not work, and the other scorns it. If aged, a long life of guilt sometimes flees to superstition for a refuge, and, after having had its own will in other things, would finish its life in a wilful religion to make God amends.
But taking up the cross of Jesus is a more interior exercise. It is the circumspection and discipline of the soul in conformity to the divine mind within the believer which is revealed. The body follows the soul, not the soul the body. Don't those who take up the inward cross know that nothing externally applied can stop the soul from lust, or the mind from an infinity of unrighteous imaginations? The thoughts of man's heart are evil, and they continuously occur. Evil comes from within the heart, and not from without. How then can an external application remove an internal cause; or a restraint upon the body, work a confinement of the mind? Confinement of the mind's thoughts is less successful where there is the least action, because there is most time to think; and if those thoughts are not guided by a higher principle, convents are more mischievous to the world than commerce trading houses. And yet periodic retirement is both excellent and needful; crowds and throngs were not much frequented by the ancient holy pilgrims.
Examine yourself, O man. What is your foundation, and who placed you there; for fear that in the end you will be found to have relied on an external fraud for your own soul. I confess that I wish the salvation of my fellow man, having found mercy with my heavenly Father. I would have none to deceive themselves to perdition especially about religion, where people are most apt to take all for granted, and lose infinitely by their own imagined worthiness and neglect. The inward, steady righteousness of Jesus is more than all the contrived devotion of poor superstitious man; and to stand approved in the sight of God, excels any ritual in religion resulting from the invention of men. And the soul that is awakened and preserved by his holy power and spirit, lives to Him in the way of his own institution, and worships Him in his own Spirit, that is, in the holy sense, life, and leadings of it; which indeed is the evangelical worship. I do not slight a true retirement; for I do not only acknowledge, but admire solitude. Christ himself was an example of it. He loved and chose to frequent mountains, gardens, and seasides. It is requisite to the growth of piety, and I reverence the virtue that seeks and uses it; wishing there were more of it in the world; but then it should be freely entered and exited, not constrained. How can a constrained, punished, retirement benefit the mind, when it should be for a pleasure? No, I have long thought it was an error among all sorts of monastic orders that have no retreats for the afflicted, the tempted, the solitary, and the devout, where they might undisturbed wait upon God, pass through their religious exercises; and, being strengthened by them, may, with more power over their own spirits, enter into the necessary business of the world again. Though the less unnecessary the better, to be sure. For divine pleasures are found in a free solitude.
Of the many thousands of early Quakers who attained Christ resurrected in them, few were called to be traveling evangelists, as was George Fox. Most were shopkeepers, tradesmen, servants, farmers, and even many soldiers; predominately from the middle class and from all professions. However, each person had an office in the Body of Christ, appointed by the Spirit of God, so that everyone served God in their place and position.
Take note of Jesus. When he came to the earth, leaving his glory in heaven, he did not choose a single religious person as his disciple. He chose fishermen, tax collectors — people who had real jobs. Not priests, living off the contributions of some others. After Jesus' death, he chose Paul, the tent-maker, to carry the message to the Gentiles, partially because it would take a Jew of high religious status to explain the break away from the Jewish traditions of ceremony, ritual, ordinances, sacrifices, foods, washings, etc. — all necessary to properly address the Gentile nations.
Paul writes about his working:
Neither did we eat any man's bread without paying for it, but labored and toiled night and day, so that we might not be a burden to any of you,
Not because we did not have the right, but to make ourselves an example for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: "If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat."
Notice! Paul is saying that a preacher without a day-job, should not eat.
Bible Colleges and Seminaries only offer learning from men; and the learning they offer is filled with errors. We all need to be taught by the Holy Spirit, all truth, all things, with the need of no man to teach us:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is advantageous for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.
And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong [reprove] of sin, and righteousness, and judgment.
Of sin, because they do not believe in me.
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no more.
Of judgment, because the prince of this world has been condemned.
However when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he shall not speak of himself, but he shall only speak what he hears; and he will show you things to come.
He shall glorify me; for he shall take from what is mine, and shall show it to you.
But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit and whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance — whatever I have said to you.
You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
But the anointing that you have received from him abides in you, and you do not need any man to teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you all things, and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it has taught you, abide in him. .
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.
So keep listening for the one Teacher. To sit at Jesus' feet and listen to his word is the one thing needed by any who wish to experience the promises of the Bible:
Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain village, and a woman named Martha received him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word.
Now Martha was distracted with much serving, and came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her that she should help me."
But Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.
There is only one thing needed. Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42.
Jesus was not reading scriptures to Mary, he was speaking to her; we must hear him speak to us too: for the words I speak to you are spirit and they are life. We must go to him. We must wait on him — listen silently, with the humility of a sinner in need of his changing power — grace. We must listen, hear, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. . Daily we must wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey. We must endure to the end, when Christ brings salvation.
To sit quietly, struggling with your mind to listen, is a cross to your will; to obey is a cross to your will — denying your will, and yielding to thy will be done — this is the inward cross of self-denial. Do this, and you are following Jesus.
Surely he loves the people; all your holy ones are in your power. And they sit at your feet, each receiving your words.
There are three sources to the power of God being released to change you: 1) the true hope and gospel, 2) the inward cross of self denial, and 3) the power in the name of Jesus. As you sit silently waiting and hoping on the Lord, think on the name of Jesus.
There is no substitute for learning from the Holy Spirit. A college or seminary cannot fulfill that teaching function. Studying the Bible does not result in learning from the Holy Spirit. To learn from the Holy Spirit, we must sit in humble silence to wait on God while we listen for His voice and watch for His revelations.
Finally, George Fox has a great letter, addressed to all tradesmen.
In the World, but Standing Apart from the World
The challenge is to not leave the world, but to still be in the world, and yet to stand apart from the world.
We do this by 1) not joining in the evil activities of the world, but 2) while not insisting others do things our way.
We are polite to the people of the world with whom we come into contact, but we do not socialize with them.
We refuse to take part in dishonest actions, cheating others, oppressing others, and criticizing others. We do not return evil for evil.
We do for others what we would have them do for us. This is the golden rule of love, on which all the laws of God are based.
Pleasures (Pass-Times) of the World
You cannot please God trying to live in the flesh. Rom 8:8. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
"Follow peace and holiness with all men, without which no man shall see the Lord"
"For I take no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn [from your evil ways] and live!"
As you begin to deny your former evil activities in the world, the basis of your friendships will diminish. As you deny foul language, revelry, excessive drinking, carousing, etc., your friends will become uncomfortable and begin to attack your commitment to goodness. You will no longer have anything to gain from socializing with them. For what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? Yes, they think it is strange that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they speak evil of you. Your former social friendships will necessarily disappear, else they will hate you and persecute you; or worse, drag you back into the world as you seek their approval. Are you trying to find favor with men, or of God?
Don't make the mistake of assuming you are supposed to love everyone by socializing with them, thinking that Jesus visited sinners and synagogues, and so should you. You are incapable of showing the love of God to anyone until you have been purified and the love of God has been close to perfected in you. Everything Jesus said and did was exactly as he was ordered to by the Father, and when you are clearly under the control of the Spirit of God's promptings and orders, you too will be sent to worldly people, (including religious worldly people), with clear instructions; but until then, you should withdraw from social contact with the world as much as possible. Friendship with the world is enmity with God; be polite, but don't join in conversations and activities of the world. This doesn't mean that you won't be kind and courteous to those of the world with which your occupation brings you into association; just that you will not socialize with them, because it would be painful and harmful to you. Do not be deceived. Evil companions corrupt good manners, morals, and integrity.
Jesus said: "And that which fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word, keep it in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with perseverance. "
Aside from false gospels, universal in Christendom today, the pleasures of this life are the greatest hurdles to be understood and overcome. Most pleasures are not inherently evil; their problem is the time passed in their pursuit. As our society's prosperity has increased, varieties of pleasures have proliferated. Just consider all the different varieties of sports shoes available for purchase today, up to one hundred; fifty years ago there were only four or five. It is very difficult for us, immersed in them since childhood, to understand how the pleasures of the world can be harmful to us. It is difficult to see how our pleasures actually enslave us to them, committing our mind, time, and energy to their pursuit. The pursuit of pleasures is love of the world, which competes with love for God; as such, our pleasures and passions are our false idols. For the love of the world, the things of the world, and the pleasures of the world are enmity with God. As it is written:
Do not love the world or the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
You [spiritual] adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that the fellowship the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world is the enemy of God [and has committed adultery with the world].
Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh [the sinful nature] with its passions and desires [lusts and affections].
So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.
From George Fox's Journal:
Take heed of pleasures, and prize your time now while you have it; do not spend it in pleasures or earthliness. The time may come that you will say; you had time, when it is past. Therefore look at the love of God now while you have time; for it brings you to loathe all vanities and worldly pleasures. Oh consider, time is precious; fear God and rejoice in him who has made heaven and earth.
THE word of the Lord to all you vain and idle minded people, who are lovers of sports, pleasures, foolish exercises, and recreations, as you call them; consider of your ways, and what it is you are doing. Was this the end of your creation? Did God make all things for you, and you to serve your lusts and pleasures? Did not the Lord make all things for you, and you for himself, to fear and worship him in spirit and in truth, in righteousness and true holiness? But where is your service to God, so long as your hearts run after lusts and pleasures? You cannot serve God and the foolish pleasures of the world, such as bowling, drinking, hunting, hawking, and the like....
Therefore, now that you have time, prize it; for this is the day of your visitation, and salvation offered to you. Every one of you has a light from Christ; which lets you see you should not lie, nor do wrong to any, nor swear, nor curse, nor take God's name in vain, nor steal. It is the light that shows you these evil deeds: which if you love, and come unto it, and follow it, it will lead you to Christ, who is the way to the Father, from whom it comes; where no unrighteousness enters, nor ungodliness. If you hate this light, it will be your condemnation; but if you love it, and come to it, you will come to Christ; and it will bring you off from all the world's teachers and ways, to learn of Christ, and will preserve you from all the evils of the world, and all the deceivers in it.
I am moved to warn you to take heed of giving way to your own wills. Love the cross; do not satisfy your own minds in the flesh; but prize your time while you have it, and conduct your life in obedience to what you already know, in obedience to God; you will not be condemned for what you don't know, but only condemned for that you know and choose not to obey. Consider before it is too late, evaluate yourselves, see where you are, and whom you serve. For if you blaspheme God, and take his name in vain, if you swear and lie, if you give way to envy, hatred, covetousness, and greediness, pleasures and indulgence, or any other vices, be assured that you serve the devil; but if you fear the Lord and serve him, you will loathe all these things. He who loves God, will not blaspheme his name; but where there is opposing of God, and serving the devil, that profession is sad and miserable. Oh! Prize your time, and do not love that which God forbids; lying, wrath, malice, envy, hatred, greediness, covetousness, oppression, gluttony, drunkenness, whoredom, and all unrighteousness, God forbids. So consider, evil companions corrupts good manners. Be not deceived, God will not be mocked with vain words; the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness. Therefore obey that which convinces you of all evil, and tells you that you should do no evil: it will lead to repentance, and keep you in the fear of the Lord. Oh! Look at the mercies of God, prize them, and do not turn them into unrestrained behaviors. Oh! Eye the Lord and not earthly things!
...grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, who would teach them to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly and godly in this present world. So that every man and woman might know the grace of God, which had appeared to all men; which was saving, and sufficient to bring their salvation. This teacher, the grace of God, would teach them how to live, what to do, and what to deny; it would season their words, and establish their hearts.
As an example of this world's pass-time pleasures, consider football. Having been a great fan of football, I am not critical of those whose passion is football. But for a moment, step back and look at the spectacle of 50-100,000 screaming, emotional people watching grown men play a game; and consider the time and effort to get there and return home in addition to the time there; and consider the expense; and consider the passion and adrenalin expended for a game of no consequence other than pride of identification with the winner. When you step back from it, it can be seen as rather frivolous.
From A Guide to True Peace:
The love of liberty is one of the most dangerous passions of the heart. If we follow this propensity, instead of true liberty, it reduces us to slavery. Since our passions are the worst of tyrants, if we obey them partially, we must always be in a perpetual strife and contest within; and if we entirely give ourselves
up to them, it is horrid to think to what extremities they will lead; they will torment the heart, and, like a torrent, sweep all before them, and yet never be satisfied. True liberty is to be found only in him, whose truth shall set us free, and who shall make us experience that to serve him is to reign.
When our selfish nature is slain, we will receive the Spirit of Christ, so that we will be obedient in our love for God — and our obedience is by choice, God not having taken away our free will. Love never insists on its own way. But our love for God will make our obedience to his wishes to be the joy of our life.
Compared to seeking God, preparing for your next life after earth that affects you forever, and learning how to conduct yourself in this life with integrity and honor, pursuits of pleasure pale in significance. And yet, that is what seeking God will do for you; he will teach you how to live righteously, soberly, godly in this life as well as prepare you for maximum happiness in the next life that never ends. Choose well how you spend your time, for our time on earth is finite, and our life's sole purpose is to have the opportunity to find God, thereby prepare us for maximum happiness in the next. (And to find God, is to have him control your words and deeds; to make God your ruling King and Lord, whom you serve and obey, instead of serving and obeying your pride, interests, passions, and lusts.)
It is hard for you to believe, but the only reason you are here is to find God by learning the lessons of life: in particular, what is the depths of difference between love vs. lust, sin vs. righteousness, turmoil vs. peace, humility vs. pride, good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, bitter vs. sweet. We must pass from this earth wise, else we must learn the hard way, in the next life. Anything you do, which distracts you from this goal, is to be eternally regretted, (I'm not talking of eternal torture, but of a great regret that you didn't use your time to eternal profit). It is not that all pleasures are evil within themselves, it is the distraction they represent; i.e. any reasonably intelligent person knows playing cards is not inherently evil, but the time spent could be more profitable to us. We somehow escape the certainty of our death to come, and let our time slip through our spread fingers like sand that we have scooped up. We have only so much time to spend; spend it like your most precious possession, wisely for the greatest return possible. Pass-times are the enemy of our souls. We never know when our life here will close, but we know it will close. So as George Fox says: "prize your time and the love of God above all;" sound advice. Seek your creator, seek what he wants of you, seek what he wants you to avoid, seek why he made you, seek to please he who made you, seek his righteousness — it is not easy, but it is everything — there is nothing else — all else is an illusion. Remember, he is not asking you to give up all you pleasures and pursuits; only enough to give him one hour of seeking per day to start — he will then draw you further.
LORD, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, so that I may know how frail I am.
Depart from evil, and do good; and you will dwell forevermore.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged [from the heart], and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
So likewise, whosoever does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.
These six things the Lord hates; yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 1 ) A proud look, 2)
a lying tongue, 3) hands that shed innocent blood, 4) a heart that imagines immoral plans, 5) feet that are swift to run to evil, 6) a false witness who speaks lies, and 7) he who sows discord among his brothers.
God meets us while we are immersed in sin and says, Peace. He doesn't condemn you. He wants to help you out of your addictions and bondages. He came to help people in sin to get rid of sin. Christ went into a city in Samaria and went to the city well where he picked out a woman, who had been married five times, yet she was living with a man to whom she was not married; this was the first person he selected to carry his message to the rest of the city. He understands that we are living in sin. He doesn't condemn us for that. He calls sinners out of darkness to a sinless state. For the world would have a Christ to excuse continuing to live in their passions and pleasures, but those committed to truth would have a Christ to change them to live pleasing to God, whatever the price.
To become purified and enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be prepared to give up everything we have. This doesn't mean we become paupers or that we leave our family without support and become a vagabond. A believer that does not care for his family, especially those of his own household, is worse than an infidel that has never heard of God. We have to give from our excess material possessions, (including money), and we have to spiritually commit to him, which insulates us from the world, including family; but we still stay in our honest occupations, care for our families, and fulfil our obligations while seeking. But we must be prepared to give up any of our false idols, (whatever we place equal to or more than our commitment to God), and our habits of the flesh.
The three enemies to God are: lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and the pride of life. We have to crucify these with the supernatural help of the Light's changing grace. The lust of the flesh includes lust for bodies, food, drink, drugs, money, etc. Lust of the eye is to want to own something because it is beautiful. Pride of life is to be proud of your beauty, strength, intelligence, wealth, possessions, lack of possessions, (you can be prideful for being poor), your social causes served, being a healthy eater, driving a small car or large car, etc; pride roots in lust's accumulations. When we desire anything because of its scarcity, we lust to boost our pride. Lust is love of the world, and the love of the world is enmity with God. Lusts and the sinful nature have to be crucified. Once we have crucified the lusts, we will of course continue to eat, drink, own things, etc; but we will use the things of the world as if we did not possess them, that is, with little interest in them except as a necessity of life, which is then to be lived in everlasting joy to the glory of God with thanksgiving, instead of our selfish interests.
Strip yourselves of your former nature that controlled your conduct, which corrupts itself through lusts and desires that spring from delusion. Eph 4:24. Lust is a delusion, originally fostered by the devil. You lust for something because you think it is good, (like Eve was fooled by the devil that the fruit from the tree of knowledge would make her wise, and was good to the eye), and will make you happy. We are sold by word of mouth and advertising that if we had a new house, a new car, a new dress, a new cell phone, a vacation in Hawaii, a drink, a drug, a body, a special food, a special drink — if only we had this or that we would be happy; but then we get it, and immediately focus our attention on getting something else for satisfaction. The continual barrage of deluding temptations are fostered by the Spirit of Satan; by their lying promise, they create lust for something, which is delusion. There is no satisfaction in this life, until you join with the life of God; he is lasting satisfaction, eternal peace and joy. The joys of the earth are transitory, but the joy in the kingdom is eternal. The pleasures of the earth are not filling, and only create the hunger for more. Some people never stop to realize that however much they get, they are happy to be still looking for something more, expecting the world to provide it; to those the Lord said: woe to you who are full! For you shall hunger. Luke 6:25; if you are content with ever seeking the things and pleasures of the world, you will very discontent in the next life.
Covetousness, which is greed and idolatry or not being satisfied with what you have, is another part of lust. But we have his assurance that if we commit to him, our needs will be provided by Him.
Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, "What are we going to have to eat?"
or, "What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?
For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right),
and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.
So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions]
and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have];
for He Himself has said, "I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.
Not, not, not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let down (relax My hold on you)!
What God Says About Debt
Keep out of debt and owe no man anything,
except to love one another;
The borrower is servant to the lender.
When the Lord your God blesses you
as He promised you, then you shall lend
to many nations, but you shall not borrow;
and you shall rule over many nations,
but they shall not rule over you.
And From George Fox's Letter 200:
And all, of what trade or whatever calling, keep out of debts;
owe to no man anything but love.
Go not beyond your estates,
for fear that you bring yourselves to trouble, and distress, and a snare;
keep low and down in all things you act.
For a man that would be great, and goes beyond his estate,
lifts himself up, runs into debt, and lives highly of other men's means;
he is a waster of other men's, and a destroyer.
He is not serviceable to the creation, but a destroyer of the creation and creatures,
and encumbers himself and troubles others,
and is lifted up, who would appear to be somebody;
but being from the honest, the just, and good, falls into the shame.
Therefore dwell everyone of you under your own vine,
(that know redemption from the earth),
and seek not to be great,
and dwell in the truth, justice, righteousness, and holiness;
and there is the blessing enlarged.
And no one, (of whatever calling), run into debt, usury, and exaction;
for many people have been wronged by this;
they that have taken of them, who by it have appeared great,
and lived above what they were, and so would seem to be.
Therefore be true and honest, holy and righteous,
everyone, in that which you have.
Owe to none anything but love; and in that you will feel the blessing,
and come to be serviceable in the creation,
serving one another in love, and not in oppression and taxation.
See George Fox's excellent writing on the side bar We Forgot About Covetousness for more.
If you try to keep all the commands in the Bible, even limiting yourself those in the New Testament, you will be very unsuccessful. It is trying to live by a Law without divine help- grace. You will smother. Try keeping these commands:
love your enemies;
when someone hits you on one side of your face,
turn your other cheek and offer it to them;
love your neighbor as yourself;
love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength;
be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
You can't possibly be perfect, no matter how hard you try, unless he makes you perfect by his grace. You can't love your neighbor as yourself, unless he gives you a gift of love by grace. It is impossible to keep the commands, even of the New Testament, without divine change and help, grace. Grace is a process, accessed by the cross. Cleansing is a process. Grace teaches us how to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. You have to go to Christ to learn from Him and be shown by Him what he wants you to change. Only he knows how to change you, and in what order to make all the necessary changes — with personalized commands and divine grace to aid you. And as you spend quiet time with Him, your desires for the world will melt away — so that when he does tell you to stop something, it will be with his help and feel right. He will cleanse us, one lust or affection at a time. This is repentance; regretting our sins or condition, resolving to be better, and changing our actions. He will only give us commands that we are capable of keeping; and as we progress, he will strengthen us so we can keep increasingly difficult commands. As our creator, he understands us far beyond our own understanding, and he is uniquely equipped to manage our cleansing and change.
The greatest persecutors of the Quakers were the Puritans. The Puritans walked outwardly by the flesh, according to their interpretation of the Bible, considering most things sinful; while the Quakers walked in love by the Spirit, according to how they were led by their inner teacher, Christ. So the Puritans focus was avoiding sin, while the Quakers' focus was to be obedient and pleasing to Christ, their teacher and Lord within. They were two entirely different spirits: one harsh and judgmental, the other loving and obedient; one focused on outward law, the other focused on inward love and obedience. We see the Puritan spirit today in the fundamental sects. Yet, many from the world, saw and see them both as the same. For example, the Puritans said cards were a sin; while the Quakers said it was a waste of time, which could be better spent in seeking to hear and serve their beloved.
Even before Jesus began his ministry, John, the greatest of all the prophets, was telling people to begin to get ready for the Kingdom of Heaven by following these simple commands that led to righteousness:
Repent: think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct.
Give to the poor; share from your excess with those who are without the necessities of life.
Be honest in all your dealings, never exaggerating or overreaching anyone.
Don't oppress people or frighten anyone, don't lie, don't want more, don't complain, be content with your wages.
Those who took his message of repentance to heart were already preparing to enter the Kingdom of Heaven when Jesus began his ministry. These are just the beginning acts of repentance. They do not cover lust, rage, pride, envy, lying, jealousy, addictions, etc.
Each of us has a different set of vices and habits. We're like different onions. He has to take off one layer at a time. My first layer is different than your first layer. In the end, we will be very similar, but our order and process to get there will be different. Something for me that is the hardest to give up, may be the easiest for you to give up. We're all different. He has to lead us differently out of the wilderness. We get different commands that are tailored to our condition; he meets us in sinful Egypt, and leads us out individually through the wilderness to the promised land. In the meantime, do your best to "do to others what you would have them do to you," (not what they have done to you, or what you think they deserve that you do to them). He will melt away your desires for the pleasures of the world, and then they are easy to give up. This is done by abiding, remaining with Him in silence while you listen for his teachings by his Light and Words to you, and by obeying his commands.
For more understanding on the necessity of learning in silence, see George Fox's writing on Why Silence? (also on the side bar)
See How to Benefit from the Changing Power of God for more. (also on the side bar)
A withdrawal from the world for a period of solitude can be helpful to see the world more clearly as it is. From the Lord: "withdraw from the world long enough to see the inconsideration and hate within it."
We have to get to where we avoid evil not just because we're supposed to, but because we hate it. To hate something evil, we have to be aware of the pain and damage that it causes us. He makes it painful. Then we shun something because we want to avoid the pain associated with doing it. Each time we slip and return to an addiction, (an affection or a lust), the pain gets worse, until finally we go out of our way to never slip again. Christ understands us; and if we go to Him by being silent and waiting on Him, he will help us to get rid of our lusts, affections, and addictions. Triggers to our addictions and lusts are turned 180 degrees around to be triggers to flee the same.
There is a story about William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, and George Fox, the founder of the Quakers. Penn had just been convinced of the true gospel and approached George Fox, (who was very much against taking up arms), about whether he should continue to wear his sword. Reportedly, Fox told him to "wear it as long as you can." Afterwards, meeting Penn without the sword, he
said, — "William, where is your sword ?"
"Oh," said Penn, "I have taken your advice. I
wore it as long as I could." He wore it until his conscience or Christ told him to give it up, and then he couldn't wear it. This is analogous to anything in our life that we do or have; things that we are not sure whether Christ wants us to give up or not. He will teach us how to live. He will show us the things that we need to get rid of. Gently, he will lead us to Him; less of ourselves, less of our habits, less of our instability, less of our emotions, and more of Him.
You must become committed to telling the truth. Even "little white lies" get bigger and bigger because lying becomes easier and easier. Lies can be a straight contradiction, exaggeration, or omission of details that would reverse what you just said. No lie is acceptable. If you slip up and tell a lie in the haste or excitement of the moment, go back to the person you lied to and correct it. The more you think you might loose by telling the truth, the more you will gain to your total surprise if you risk to tell the truth. It is a spiritual law, just like gravity is a natural law; all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death. . AND You are of your father, the devil, and you follow and yield to the lusts of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and did not remain in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own; for he is a liar and the father of all lies. . Lying is so easy, the Lord instructed us to let our answers be restricted to a single word: yes or no, for all extra words invariably comes from the spirit of the evil one within us; which spirit we seek to be purged from by the process of purification that this site teaches. When you are willing to give up anything, so that you can get closer to God, you have nothing to lie about any more; for one lies to gain or preserve, whether it is goods or pride.
Early Quakers became very successful in business and trade, because people wanted to deal with people they trusted to be honest in all circumstances. We have to be honest, even on our taxes. "He who is faithful in that which is least is also faithful in much; and he who is dishonest in the least is also dishonest in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in unrighteous money, who will trust you with true riches?"Luke 16:10-11. For more on honesty in our business and professional lives, see George Fox's Letter 200.
Any pornography in your life must be given up; any and all, whatever the source: movies, TV, surfing the web, magazines, etc. All avenues and acts of sexual immorality have to be stopped to progress spiritually. He said to me, "he who practices adultery, (being unfaithful to a committed partner), cannot be my disciple; but I do not judge someone coming out of such a relationship, unless they fail to repent " Obviously you can't stop thought, but you must do all you can to stop all actions of sexual immorality. Thoughts and lust are something that Christ will eventually remove; (I write this, having had lust removed, after a long and painful struggle, finishing with the Lord's power removing my desires). Paul said: "Flee sexual immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside his body, but he who commits sexual immorality, sins against his own body." . When the gospel of peace was first preached to the gentiles, the Apostles Council in Jerusalem consulted with the Holy Spirit to give the gentiles the minimum rules they should follow. The only one of four which applies to current society is "abstain from sexual immorality." So, you could say that this is the one rule that is necessary to start and succeed. He will then add other commands that are tailored to you.
However, whatever you know to be wrong, if you can avoid it, avoid it. The vast majority of people who have arrived at this site are not just starting on their spiritual journey; they are hungry for more and looking for the way to satisfy that hunger. Whatever you have already given up, maintain your abstinence; don't return to them, thinking you should only give up what Christ commands.
From the Word of the Lord within, "there is far too little love in the world today, and I look with favor on any love between men and women." Remember the Woman at the Well? She had five previous husbands, and was living unmarried with another man. But, Christ selected her, taught her, and then sent her out to witness and preach to the rest of the City. John 4:5-30. So, obviously he was not concerned. She was evidently in a committed relationship. Fidelity is what is important, not a ring; and not a ceremony from a "preacher" or civilian magistrate — neither of which have His authority. You cannot be unfaithful to man and faithful to God. So adults, who are living together in a committed relationship, or people who have divorced and remarried, are not living in sexual immorality, at least in the Lord's eyes.
You can be his disciple if you are living together in a committed relationship, but be sure your commitment is a commitment not only of yourself, but your partner also, (a committed relationship requires both parties to be committed, not just one). Realize, when you have matured spiritually to be able to speak and act according to His commands, your lack of a publicly recognized marriage would be a stumbling block for many people, and for that reason you will probably eventually want to remove that stumbling block out of love for your fellow man. You can get formally married any time you choose, or you can wait until you hear Him tell you to formalize your relationship with a legal marriage for the eyes of the world. The early Quakers' marriages took place in their meetings without a ring and without a man marrying, which you can read about in George Fox's Letter #264. When there are meetings of the true faith established again, marriages will be similarly performed; until then, perhaps a Justice of the Peace, a Judge, or the County Clerk, (not a priest or a preacher), is the best alternative for formalizing a relationship into a legal marriage.
Regarding marriage: I received a command from him to "dance with no one except your wife," not even close relatives of any age. Dancing is a mating ritual, so restrict it to your spouse to avoid arousal, interest, and/or temptation; even if you're not interested, your partner may be. Exceptions would be a rare cultural tradition, such as everyone taking a whirl with the bride at a wedding.
Somewhat related to sexual immorality, women must dress chastely. Provocative dress is poison to men; and if you would do unto others as you would have them do unto you, you will not expose your body to men to be "attractive" or "in style," for in doing so, you are only appealing to their unholy lusts. So keep your waist, hips, and chest covered; keep your dresses at a decent length; not burkas, but decent. Dress as though you are dressing exclusively for your sixteen year old brother or son. From the Word of the Lord within: "dress as you would if attending a women's club." Dress simply, without flash. Those of you dressing to be attractive, ask yourself exactly what kind of man are you are trying to attract; a godly man will only be repulsed by a lack of modesty. Let your beauty not be merely an outward one with elaborate braiding of hair, and wearing of jewelry or [elegant] apparel; But let it be the inward adorning of the hidden person of the heart, which is incorruptible, highlighted by a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. Likewise, men who are seeking must not encourage women's provocative dress and behavior with whistles, wows, stares, compliments, etc.
The early Quakers had strong testimony against following fashion, particularly in clothes; crying against ribbons, lace, and unfunctional decor of clothing. The Apostle Peter spoke of women dressing moderately, without pompous hairdos and jewelry. The same advice applies to men with pompous hairdos, tattoos, jewelry, piercings, etc. Other examples of following fashion is to buy the latest styles and colors, while pushing perfectly good clothing to the back of the closet; to dress conspicuously with expensive and extravagant designer clothing of the latest trends; to always have the coolest cell phone, when the old one worked just fine; to serve the latest taste sensation from the gourmet food magazines; that new dress for the party; and to have more clothes, just to look different each day. In other words, don't use the creation wastefully or to serve your pride. There is fashion in clothing, toys, sports, food, cars, computers, homes, bicycles — whatever and wherever is the latest and greatest or coolest. So how should we dress: simply, practically, modestly, whatever is commonly available, without extravagance, without superfluous gingerbread, moderately, not trying to attract attention to ourselves - but according to our preferences, which is Christian freedom. See Fox's Letter 250 for more.
Regarding fashion, there are sects within christiandom that pride themselves in the fashion of previous centuries. Such show of religion and conformity, Margaret Fox, the Mother of the Quakers, wrote several times strongly against. The correct objective in dress is simple, not old or drab. For even George Fox, the Quaker's founder, sent his wife gifts of material that were "scarlet" — shocking news to some, but color is not sinful. Let us not make a show of godliness to men, repeating the mistake of the Pharisees, who wore long robes () to look godly; all their works they do to be seen by men. Wearing crosses is also a show of godliness. Rather than outward show, let your kindness, along with moderation in your dress and conduct be your "badge" of religion.
As with most rules from God, they are given to us in love to follow for our own benefit. And should we follow them, we are much happier and more successful in life. Many of us have to learn the truth of this statement the hard way, by suffering the consequences in our natural life of breaking the rules, without even considering the spiritual consequences.
I will tell you some (the hardest and last for me) of what the Lord told me to give up, but if it doesn't make sense to you, don't worry about it. For years I hesitated and backslid in giving these up as previously commanded, with little progress. Finally, I gave them all up completely, while drastically increasing my time in silent waiting, and my spiritual progress was almost immediate. If applicable, at the right time he will gently lead you through them, so that you will be happy you gave them up and know the time for you was right:
1) Television, plays, and movies. The TV, because it is full of sexual immorality, violence, and violent language; in programming, commercials, comedies, etc. TV trivializes sin: adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, murder, anger, covetousness, profanity, etc. Even the Disney channel is guilty occasionally. We do not have a TV in the house. We do not have, nor have we had cable for the last 30 years.
2) Sports. For me, attending sporting events was always too much trouble, but to watch them on television was easy. Professional football was one of the last things I was told to give up. I don't miss it. The adrenalin loss was noticeable. My time is spent seeking instead. Years later the Word of the Lord within told me why I was commanded to give up football: "the reason I am opposed to football is that it encourages the players to injure those of the opposing team; football takes little boys and turns them into animals. The Super Bowl: a fool's paradise." George Fox described being a shouting fan in a sporting event as: "These in their sports scream and shout like wild asses. They are like the cattle or beasts when they are put to grass, lowing when they are full. "
3) I was a news junkie, following world events, particularly politics, or news in general. We don't take a newspaper. I don't watch the evening news on TV; we don't even have a TV. I don't miss it. Then I became addicted to the internet news sites. I went to the internet news sites fifteen times a day at work in lulls answering the phone. The Lord asked me for years to give this up. I tried and failed, and tried again, and failed. Finally, I gave it up. I don't miss it. The world is getting along just fine without me being informed about all the things that I can do nothing about. I only need to take care of my business, while others take care of the world without me worrying about it. I was the only one losing. News is gossip and worry material. Worry is just something to occupy your mind and swell your pride.
from Fox's Letter 391 "And keep out the Athenians' [Acts 17:21 ] spirit,
spending their time in hearing and telling of news, which the world is full of.
Newspapers require 500,000 trees being destroyed for every Sunday's news. Curiously the environmental movement ignores the complete waste of the earth to serve this vain pleasure. There are no statistics available to add to the impact of the "free" newspapers. This is just one more reason to ignore the news.
Here's an ad for news by cell phone: Celebs, movies, artists―dig into all the dirt you want.
However trendy you are, there is no benefit in seeking dirt. News is bad news. Good news doesn't sell in the world.
4) Somewhat related, was my tendency to repeat the worries, (and "news" is always bad and something to worry about), of the world to everyone around me. Worries about terrorism, earthquakes, corrupt politicians, incorrupt politicians, wars, weather, the trade deficit, the national debt, etc. Not only was I keeping my mind in a turmoil, (the opposite of peace and trust in God to take care of us), worrying about the world, I was passing my worries on to others. NOT GOOD!
5) One of the last commands given to me was to 'take no political stand.' He had prepared me for this by telling me previously 'I heal the right and the left,' and to 'heap tolerance.' I understand that he wants me apolitical — without opinions. He wants to reach out to those across the entire political spectrum; and if I stand anywhere in it, I offend those not of the same opinion. So, I changed my registration to independent. I support no candidates or parties with my funds or efforts. My time is spent looking inward. I am much happier. Now I focus on loving everyone, regardless of their political leanings; and I am happy to not be a stumbling block to anyone of a persuasion different from what I previously possessed. And my political opinions are dying; I suppose if I tried, I might get worked up about some issue again, but I don't miss any of it.
Certainly we have to make every effort to give up the unlawful practices: lying, cheating, drunkenness, swearing, stealing, railing, sexual immorality, etc.
But in our culture
we are immersed in lawful pastimes — sports, TV, movies, web surfing, DVD's, music, concerts, theater, races, bodybuilding, shopping, blogging, video games, etc. So where do we begin? You can't give it all up at once, or you will be an empty shell. What you give up has to be led by him, one step at a time, with him giving more hunger for him each step of the way. Titus 2:11-14 says: grace will teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts — how to live soberly, righteously, and godly. Certain things must be turned away from with all your strength, particularly those that lead you to sexual immorality. Pornography addiction is the disease of the age and wherever it appears, it must be eliminated: magazines, calendars, books, TV, movies, web surfing, etc. Video games with sex or violence must be abandoned. If you are addicted to web pornography, at least get the sites off your Favorites list. Make it more than one click to failure; get rid of your credit cards — anything to block your ease of depravity. Some even have to give up their computer to get away from pornography.
But for the non-harmful pastimes: know they eventually will probably have to go, but wait for the Lord to lead you in their denial, when he gives you strength to comply and more hunger for him to fill the void created when you give them up. As the Lord has told me: "I don't want people to give up everything at once, without me leading them and filling them along the way, or they will end up an empty shell."
Regarding sports, bodily exercise that keeps you healthy is important and should not be classified as a pastime, providing you are not obsessed with winning or resulting pride of appearance.
Pastimes are not harmful unless giving them up is painful. If you are obsessed with some pastime, like teenagers are obsessed with video games, give them up to progress spiritually. Even if a pastime is not important to you, to others they are a major indulgence in their life. So, you may decide to, or be asked to, refrain from participating in them to: 1) avoid the appearance of endorsing them, thus being a good example to those who might indulge to their harm, and 2) not offend those of other religious persuasions, who think they are sinful — preventing them from hearing the truth as you practice it. Both cases illustrate the practice of being your brother's keeper.
There is another form of addiction: rights or entitlements. Our governments have legislated and imagined an array of rights and entitlements: the right to say anything, the right to a pension, the right to health-care, the right to indulge in sexual immorality, the right to abortion, the right to not be discriminated against, etc. If the thought of having to part with some right upsets you, then you are addicted to it. The Lord's way is not to insist on our own way, nor to flee to the courts for protection, nor to flee to the streets to protest; we are to accept everything as from the hand of the Lord, for he is in perfect control of all the events surrounding those who have made him their first priority in their life.
One of the purposes of this web site is to give you lots of reading material, to help you spend your time profitably.
There is a whole subculture of music talking about there being no good or evil; this demonic music extols the elimination of good vs. evil and promises to "vaporize the Judiazer dogs" who call their practices evil. The "ranters" in George Fox's day believed that all pleasures, (drunkenness, adultery, fornication included) were sinless if done in faith; of course this is ludicrous. One of my Hindu acquaintances told me "there was no good or evil; that he was so proficient in evil, that he was 'good' at it." This is all ridiculous rationalization of evil.
Since arguing with people about your beliefs is not helpful to developing peace, once you are committed, you will have to withdraw from any deficit sect that preaches no repentance and anything goes. Therefore, come out from among them, and be separate, said the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; and I will receive you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty." 2 Cor 6:17-18. Come out of her, my people, so that you do not share in her sins, and so you will not receive her plagues. Rev 18:4. If you stayed, you would find it painful to listen to their misrepresentations of the message of Christ and their idolization of scriptures to be their word, rule, guide, teacher, judge, and trier of spirits. But don't try to correct them; you will only injure yourself and not convince them. Those who can't hear, can't hear. Wait until you are told by Him when to talk to others. When you are finished, and if told to preach, the power of God will proceed you and will chain down your listeners so that they are forced to hear. You will have to quietly leave your deficit sect to be able to hear Christ's teachings because he will not build you up on top of a false foundation. (See Sect's Services for more.)
If you commit yourself to God, to seeking his will on a daily basis, with time dedicated to getting quiet to listen, he will guide you and protect you. Your problems will go away. Whatever happens will be to your good, even if it doesn't seem so to you at the time. Nothing will harm you. He will give you rest. You will have the protection of the heavens. So there is nothing to worry about any more. Do what you are capable of doing, and then cast all your cares on him. Let him work them out. See How to Benefit from the Changing Power of God for more detail.
But do not take this watching over you to be safety for participating in dangerous activities by choice. Remember Christ was tempted to cast himself from the top of the temple, with the assurance that the angels would catch him; he replied, 'you shall not tempt the Lord your God.' From the word of the Lord within as a warning to everyone: "drunkenness can make you so loose that you kill yourself." Drunkenness can result from drugs or alcohol.
We are not medical doctors and therefore cannot give medical advice. What I can tell you is that if we feel we need to correct a physical problem, we go to the appropriate medical professional for repair. In the last 8 years, my wife has been in need of two operations; the Lord told us to go ahead with them, and they were both very successful. I had a complete backache cure with two adjustment visits by a highly recommended chiropractor. However, we minimize our medical visits in that we don't go for routine checkups or lab work, and we only have our teeth cleaned once per year, which cleaning was a commanded limitation of the Lord. In the event we are told by Him to do differently, certainly we will obey. We look forward to the health and happiness of the Kingdom, where the Lord is our only doctor; however, we are not yet privileged to that.
from George Fox's Letter 77
In the measure of the life of God wait,
to guide your minds up to the Father of life, where there is no shadow or changing.
As you progress, you must know a removing and changing of that which will change,
with that which does not change;
to that, take heed to guide all your minds, that none be found naked.
For those who are found naked, are in that which has an end, and does change,
and that causes blindness.
And therefore to you all this is the word of the Lord: in the measure of the life wait,
that it may join your hearts unto the Father of life,
that you all may come to receive clothing and righteousness,
and come to feel your strength renewed from the God of all strength,
to everyone of you according to your measure, and see him that shows mercy.
And so live in peace, which comes from the God of all peace,
who bruises Satan under your feet, who has ruled.
So here the love of God will come to be shed abroad in your hearts,
which love is one, and does not change.
In it dwell, and grow and abound,
that over all that which is contrary to the Lord of life, who destroys death,
you may reign everyone over your own hearts, and lusts, and vile affections,
and your former vile conversation, disposition, and nature, and wills.
So that you may come to know the saints' state,
unto whom all things were become new, and the old things were passed away;
and that which does not change, which is new, that pay attention to,
to guide all your minds up to the living God, from where light, life, and power come.
So in it the Lord God of life preserve you,
that to him you may be a sweet smelling savor;
for that which will corrupt, and does corrupt,
and will grow ragged, and come to be torn,
and will die of itself and will wither, fade, and stink in the nostrils of God,
is that which is contrary to the measure of the life of God,
and is with the light condemned.
Therefore wait, (I do warn you all in the presence of the living God),
in the measure of the life of God, in it to grow up in love, in virtue, and in immortality,
in that which does not fade, which joins and unites your hearts together;
and that all that may with the light be condemned, which is contrary to it.
For that which defiles, is out of God's kingdom,
and is with the light seen and condemned;
in which light the children of the light walk,
and have unity one with another, and with the son of God, from where it comes.
And, my dear friends, keep your meetings,
and you will feel the seed of God among you all,
though never a word be spoken among you.
But be faithful, that you may answer that of God in everyone.
And do not neglect your talents,
but be faithful in the power and life of God, which you have received.
And dwell in the life, and power, and love of God one with another.
George Fox's Journal Again:
Although many say they are christians, they are out of Christ's life, out of the apostle's command, and out of the saints' ornament. To see such as are in the fashions of the world before mentioned, a company of them playing at bowling, or at tables, or at shuffleboard, or each taking his horse, with bunches of ribbons on his head, as the rider has on his own, perhaps a ring in his ear too, and so go to horse racing to spoil the creatures; Oh! these are gentleman indeed, these are bred up gentlemen, these are brave fellows, they must have their recreations; for all pleasures are lawful. These in their sports scream and shout like wild asses. They are like the cattle or beasts when they are put to grass, lowing when they are full. Here is the glorying of those before mentioned; but it is in the flesh, not in the Lord. These are bad christians and show that they are gluttoned with the creatures, and then the flesh rejoices. Here is bad raising of young men and young women, who are carried away with the vanities of the mind in their own inventions, pride, arrogance, lust, gluttony, uncleanness. They eat and drink, and rise up to play. This is the generation which God is not well pleased with; for their eyes are full of adultery, who cannot cease from evil. These are those who live in pleasures upon earth; these are those who are dead while they live; who glory not in the Lord, but in the flesh: these are those who are out of the life from which the scriptures were given, who live in the fashions and vanities of the world, out of truth's adorning in the devil's adorning, (who is out of the truth), not in the adorning of the Lord, which is a meek and quiet spirit, and is with the Lord of great price. But this ornament and this adorning is not put on by them that adorn themselves, and have the ornament of him that is out of the truth. And that is not accepted with the Lord which is accepted in their eyes.
Come, you blessed of the Lord, and rejoice together; keep in unity and oneness of spirit. Triumph above the world! Be joyful in the Lord; reigning above the world, and above all things that draw from the Lord; that in clearness, righteousness, pureness, and joy, you may be preserved to the Lord. Oh hear! Oh hearken to the call of the Lord! Come out of the world, and keep out of it for evermore! Come, sing together, you righteous ones, the song of the Lord, the song of the Lamb; which none can learn, but they who are redeemed from the earth, and from the world.
Pleasure of Correcting the World's Evils
( a subtle form of prideful pleasure)
Social action is another form of religion. You take pride in being on "the correct side" of things. You feel righteous, but what you feel is really only an increase in pride, an increase in the flesh. Worldly activities count for nothing. Whatever you do in the flesh is not pleasing to God.
The Lord calls us to stand apart from the world. Be in the world, but be not of the world. Your focus should be inward, not outward. You can spend your days on this earth in correcting "evil" or you can seek the will of God; until you are under his control and capable of understanding his instructions and carrying them out with his power. As the disciples were told by Jesus to "remain in Jerusalem waiting for power from on high," you are called to turn inside and seek the heavenly Jerusalem, seeking the light to change you into a vessel equipped with his power and suitable for his service. (Of the 650,00 Quakers, a very small percentage were preachers; most were middle class shop owners, laborers, soldiers, farmers, etc.; but all had an office in the Body of Christ, with their lives being shining examples of Christian virtue.)
Your removing of self from involvement in the world is not a betrayal of your "goodness," it is a commitment to seeking his will without outside competitions. We are not inactive when still seeking; we are called to express our faith in acts of love; giving to those in need, visiting the widows, assisting the orphans, acts of kindness to others, encouraging others in acts of love, and avoiding evil conduct and conversation ourselves. (Acts of love do not include protests, political activity, campaigning, promotion of any institution, etc.) A good soldier does not get involved in civilian affairs. Any action in your flesh to correct the evils of the world, however holy the motives seem to you, unless you have been specifically directed as above; any action will only retard or halt your spiritual progress -- whatever the purpose: slavery, women's rights, protecting the environment, prevention of cruelty to animals, anti-drug campaigns, alcohol abuse, child abuse, globalization, abortion, war, etc.
We are called to focus on the heavenly treasures, to turn inward seeking the light, to focus on the what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and praise. If we spend our energies and time in correcting evil, we miss the opportunity to be changed inwardly. After we are changed, then we can toil together with God in the causes of his choice; and there will be causes, but he will be the one who orders our activities — His Will, not ours.
If you think you are "called" to do something, I ask you: Where in the Bible does it speak of being "called," as you use it? Called is to be summoned or named. The Bible does not have a single reference to "called" being something that God is requiring you to do, except to come to Him. When he wants you to do something, he gives you commands and orders; not a feeling, a desire, a burden, a door opening, a draw, or a "call." This word is thrown around by some sects to justify anything anybody feels an inclination to do, as being "called." When you are led by God to do something, he tells you exactly what to do and exactly when to do it.
However holy our fleshly social actions feel, they only puff-up our pride — further removing us from the will of God.
A "call" is particularly used by preachers, who have "heard the call." Being touched by God, or having a spiritual experience, is not his call to be a preacher; it is a summons to seek him: Many are called, few are chosen. Far, far too many people interpret a touch by God to mean he wants us to work for him in a non-secular job; this is not true. He wants us to stay where we are, making as few changes as possible in our life, so that we can hear him more easily as we try to quiet our minds to listen for his teachings and commands. And if we start preaching or teaching before we are perfected and directly commanded to, our spiritual progress is stopped dead.
As Christians, we are told the world is passing away for us, so we don't need to keep up with its problems. When we step into the Kingdom of Heaven, which is another dimension, the world, as we see it, is gone; we see from another dimension, even though our bodies are still here on earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is within us and around us; it is another dimension of reality. Everything we now see will be gone from our sight. (Physicists tells us there are several other dimensions than the three + time we see.)
So, we are called to come out of the world and turn inward; to stop thinking about things in the world and think about heavenly things; to give to the poor and build up treasure in heaven. We are to focus on Christ and to focus on loving our neighbor. Being kind to our neighbor. Forgiving our neighbor. Loving our neighbor. Loving everyone at work; they are our neighbor too. Loving every person we come into contact with, because they all have the light of Christ within them and we are loving Christ when we love them. We are called to follow peace with all men. If we are protesting, we are not following peace with all men. . We are called to be apolitical — having no political opinions. We are called to not put our faith, hopes, resources, or efforts in any worldly power, person, or cause. This is not being callous to the world's problems; for we know that by dying to self, and becoming a soldier under orders from Christ with his power to help us — then we can be more effective than one hundred lifetimes without God's direction and power.
Simple Starting Rules to Follow
Beyond your daily seeking through waiting on God, here are the starting rules that if you follow, you will do well.
If you make mistakes, ask forgiveness plus help, resolve to do better, and don't look back again at them.
Don't worry, he loves you, doubt it not! (from the Word of the Lord within). He is watching over you continually!
Enjoy the good things of this life with thanks and praise
to our to great and wonderful God.
Consider George Fox's statement below regarding any worldly activity:
Considering the hurries that were in the nation, it came upon me at the close of this meeting to write a few lines to Friends, to caution all to keep out of the spirit of the world, in which trouble is, and to dwell in the peaceable truth; as follows:
DEAR FRIENDS AND BRETHREN,
Whom the Lord has called and chosen in Christ Jesus,
your life and salvation,
in whom you have rest and peace with God;
the Lord by his mighty power that is over all, has preserved and supported you to this day,
to be a peculiar holy people to himself,
so that by his eternal spirit and power you might be all kept out of the world,
for in the world is trouble.
In this great day of the Lord God Almighty,
he is shaking the heavens and the earth of outward professions,
their elements are in a heat, their sun and their moon are darkened, the stars falling,
and the mountains and hills shaking and tottering,
as it was among the Jews in the days of Christ's appearing.
Therefore, dear friends, and brethren, dwell in the seed, Christ Jesus,
the rock and foundation, that cannot be shaken;
so that you may see with the light and spirit of Christ,
that you are like fixed stars in the firmament of God's power;
and in this his power and light you will see over all the wandering stars,
clouds without water, and trees without fruit.
That which may be shaken will be shaken,
as will all who have wandered from the firmament
of God's power.
Dear friends and brethren, you who are redeemed from the death and fall of Adam,
by Christ, the second Adam, in him you have life, rest, and peace;
for Christ said, "in me you shall have peace, but in the world trouble."
And the apostle said, "we who have believed do enter into rest," namely Christ,
who has overcome the world, bruises the serpent's head, destroys the devil and his works,
and fulfils the types, figures, and shadows of the Old Testament, and the prophets.
In whom the promises are yes and amen;
who is the first and last, beginning and ending, the eternal rest.
So keep and walk in Christ, your rest, everyone who has received him.
Dear friends and brethren,
whatever bustlings and trouble, tumults or outrages,
quarrels and strife, arise in the world,
keep out of them all;
do not concern yourselves with them;
but keep in the Lord's power and peaceable truth, that is over all such things;
in which power you seek the peace and good of all men.
Live in the love which God has shed abroad in your hearts through Christ Jesus;
in which love nothing is able to separate you from God and Christ,
neither outward sufferings, persecutions, nor any outward thing that is below and without;
nor to hinder or break your heavenly fellowship in the light, gospel, and spirit of Christ,
nor your holy communion in the holy ghost, that proceeds from the Father and the Son,
which leads you into all truth.
In this holy ghost, in which is your holy communion,
that proceeds from the Father and the Son,
you have fellowship with the Father and the Son, and with one another.
This is it which links and joins Christ's church or body together
to him the heavenly and spiritual head, and in unity in his spirit,
which is the bond of peace to all his church, and living members,
in whom they have eternal rest and peace in Christ, and with God everlasting,
who is to be blessed and praised for ever, Amen!
'Dear friends and brethren,
abide in Christ the vine, so that you may produce fruit to God’s glory.
As everyone has received Christ, walk in him, who is not of the world that lies in wickedness;
so that you may be preserved out of the vain fashions and customs of the world
which satisfy the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life,
which are not of the Father, but of the world that passes away.
Whoever joins to that which is not of the Father, or encourages it,
draws the mind from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore let Christ rule in your hearts,
that your minds, souls, and spirits may be kept out of the vanities of the world
in their words, ways, and actions,
so that you may be a peculiar people, zealous for good works,
serving the Lord through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God;
that by the word of his grace your words may be gracious,
and in your lives and conversation you may show forth righteousness, holiness, and godliness,
that God Almighty may be glorified in you all, and through you all,
who is above all, blessed and praised for ever. Amen.
London, the 11th of the 4th month, 1685
This web site's purpose is to show how to become
free from sin
by benefiting from the changing power of God through the cross,
which leads to union with God in his Kingdom.