VI. THE OBJECTS OF DEALING WITH THE WORLD
[The world in our daily living consists of people, activities, and things which usurp the place of God in us. Therefore, these objects are the aim of our dealings.
How do we know what objects are usurping us, and what is the standard of measurement? First, we need to see whether these objects exceed the necessities of our life. We can say that anything that goes beyond our daily necessities is taking the place of God and possessing us; thus, it needs to be dealt with. Our existence depends upon certain people, activities, and things, such as parents, husband, wife, family, clothes, food, housing, transportation, occupation, etc. These are the necessities for our existence. If these necessities contribute to our purpose of living for God, they are not our world. But should these people, activities, or things exceed our daily necessities, they then become our world. For example: clothing as a necessity is not worldly, but if one pays too much attention to apparel and ornaments, or squanders money in order to comply with present-day fashions, he has already exceeded the scope of his daily necessities. Consequently, these excesses have become his world. Another example: glasses to correct defective eyesight are not worldly. But some wear glasses to be fashionable; this then is not their necessity, but the world they love.
What is the standard that regulates our daily necessities in regard to people, activities, and things? In the Bible there is no uniform or specific standard governing these matters.] [Therefore, the standard of our living necessities must be determined by ourselves through prayer and seeking the mind of God. We cannot measure our standard according to that of others nor demand that they agree with our views and feelings. Furthermore, our own dealings before God should also be according to the standard of our daily living before God. We should neither go beyond nor fall short.]
[From the divine viewpoint there is a certain measuring rule regarding the world. This rule is God Himself. As we measure sin by the law of God, so we measure the world by God Himself. The standard of dealing with the world is based upon God. If God is absent, we cannot sense what the world is. God and the world are forever in opposition to each other. Wherever there is the world, there God is not; where there is God, there the world is not.]
VII. THE BASIS OF DEALING WITH THE WORLD
[The basis of our dealing with the world is the same as dealing with sin. It is based upon the sense of life obtained during fellowship. God has never asked an individual to separate himself in a moment’s time from all unholiness and all things which usurp him. God wants man to deal with the things which he feels are unholy and usurping. Practically speaking, there may be one hundred unholy things in us, but during our fellowship we become conscious, perhaps, of only ten. Therefore, God holds us responsible for only these ten. Temporarily, we are not responsible for the remaining ninety. Not until we have attained to a greater degree of fellowship in life do we become conscious of the remaining objects and deal with them.]
[There are two factors which greatly influence our inner feeling toward the world: our love for God and our spiritual growth in life. We have said that God is the standard for dealing with the world. If we are far from God, we are not conscious of our worldliness. But once we draw nigh to God, we discover many worldly matters in us. Only those who love God desire to draw nigh unto God. Therefore, if we desire to deal with the world, we should first love God.]
[Our inner feeling towards the world also depends upon our spiritual growth. The more we advance in the spiritual life and knowledge of God, the deeper we will be in knowing the world. This knowledge of the world is the inner feeling we have toward the world and forms the basis of dealing with the world. The degree of our spiritual growth is always in proportion to the degree of our dealing with the world.]
(Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)