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Worldliness - Modern Leaven


Worldliness - Modern Leaven

In the bible, Jesus warns of three types of leaven, that of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians. These are influences that can corrupt those who desire to follow Jesus. One can consider a common denominator of smug self-satisfaction that these three types of “leaven” produce. The Pharisees were proud of their religious accomplishments. The Sadducees were proud of their noble position. The Herodians had assurance and drew comfort from their political connections.

Leaven (the yeast that makes bread rise) is pervasive and fills with gas that which it is free to invade. This illustration and understanding was so important that everyone in the nation of Israel was supposed to clean out of their house any trace of yeast every Spring for over a thousand years. What these types of “leaven” illustrate is the danger of allowing a type of thinking where trust in God is replaced by trust in self, position, or influence. This shift in thinking can start slowly but grow to take over just as yeast can make an entire loaf of bread inflated with CO2 gas.

If we consider what things we might trust in over our faith in Jesus, we have to consider, our job, social security, medicare, our education, our accomplishments, our fiends, our 401K account, possessions such as land, business, stocks, bonds, or equipment. We know that Satan sets the course of this world (Ephesians 2:2). He has his own purposes in setting the course of the world towards global collectivism. In doing so he has established a social environment where completely trusting in God seems not possible, not necessary, and even unwise.

We are born into and raised in a world where real abiding, deep, and living faith in God is crippled at every turn. This has even saturated church tradition. The church that elevates political correctness and social justice is just as contaminated with worldly “leaven" as one that elevates rule keeping legalism.

There is a reason the bible tells us that friendship with the world makes us an enemy of God. The Christian seeking to take his ravaged and crippled faith out of the world and build it up in Christ can find healing through the word of God, the bible. The more we grow in the knowledge of God, the more we learn that he is trustworthy and our faith can be stronger.

Disengagement from the world is not hiding in isolation, but it is seeing that the interests of the Christian are different from those in the world. This understanding is facilitated by abiding (living) in the words of Jesus (the word of God). This immersion in the bible produces “freedom” (John 8:31-32). It is this freedom that allows us to understand how the world actually operates and discern some of the many dynamics that strangle, cripple, and divert faith.

Real bible study is different than one might think from public education where students can be told to “shut up, sit down and do what they are told”. Bible study needs active inquiry. One has to ask questions and wrestle with verses to exercise the mind and open the heart to the work of the Holy Spirit. In a way, there is no more noble endeavor that the quest for truth. It is the hunger for truth that brings us to a greater knowledge of God and a stronger faith. The yeast-like pervasive influence of the world on our lives retreats in the face of truth. We indeed come to know the truth and this results in being set free.



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