Living in Two Worlds
More and more I feel like I’m living in two starkly different worlds.
There’s the world I see on the news, on the Twitter feed, and on the streets of our cities. This is the world of the Fauci-China virus and vaccine tyranny, the world of totalitarian government and militant Marxism, the world of relentless deceit, lies and corruption. It’s a world of rapidly rising inflation, supply chain collapse, food shortages and imminent civil war. It’s a world where a belligerent, imperialist China and Russia circle pathetic, cowering America.
This world is miserable and hopeless. Spend too much time considering it, fail to put it in proper context, and you soon begin to feel low and hopeless. Some grow depressed and develop mental problems. Suicide rates across this world are rocketing. Others grow frustrated and angry; many are increasingly taking matters into their own hands.
Then there is this other world. Most of humanity doesn’t know about it and has never visited. In this world, government is perfect. It’s a world of law and order, and this produces peace, stability and prosperity. This world is entirely free of corruption and deceit. There’s no confusion about gender, sex or family. There are no drug problems, no violence, no perversion, no dysfunction. This world is perfect in every way.
The effects on the mind when you visit this world are palpable. You are more cheerful, more positive, optimistic and hopeful. Spending time in this world builds your health spiritually, emotionally and even physically. The more I think on it, the more I realize: The only way to survive the former world is to spend as much time as possible in the latter.
The Apostle Paul admonished us to spend time in this latter world in Philippians 4. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (verse 8; Revised Standard Version).
Paul is talking about studying the Bible.
Nothing on the face of this Earth is more “true,” “honorable,” “just,” “pure,” “lovely,” “gracious,” “excellent” and “worthy of praise” than the Word of God!
The late Herbert W. Armstrong taught that the Bible is the mind of God in print. This book outlines God’s plan for humanity; it reveals how to be content and happy (yes, even in this present world); it describes the coming Kingdom of God. The Bible paints a picture of an entirely new and different world from the one we live in. Most importantly, this wonderful world is real—it will soon be established right here on Earth!
Experiencing the world of the Bible takes imagination. It takes reading and study. We have to take our minds off the present, out of the moment, and off of our physical environment. We have to set it in another place. This might sound impossible. But it’s not. In fact, we do it all the time.
Every day, countless millions spend hours watching television and movies, playing video games, browsing YouTube. Some watch sports, others love reality tv; for some its movies, or one Netflix or Amazon series after another. When we engage in these activities, aren’t we basically entering another world? You see, we’re all capable of experiencing different worlds.
But these man-made worlds often aren’t all that different from this present world. The scenery in this fictional world might be different from our own; perhaps we are projected into a lifestyle, role or plotline that we may never experience. But the behavior of the characters, their nature and motives, their moods, attitudes and emotions, are exactly the same as the ones around us in this world.
It’s not real smart how we attempt to escape the present by immersing our minds in shows, movies and games filled with the same vulgarity, perversions, corruption, lies, gore and violence that make this present world so miserable. But it’s so human: In our attempt to escape the present, we end up back in the present.
Take Squid Game, one of the most popular shows globally on Netflix. Set in South Korea, this dystopian survival drama is apparently one of the goriest, most violent shows ever made. It’s so disturbing, some literally vomit while watching it; others end up on the floor crying uncontrollably. And it’s a global sensation.
I’m not denying that the worlds we visit on our screens cannot provide a fleeting moment of pleasure. It feels good to see your favorite sports team win, to be moved by a nature documentary, to laugh. But let’s face it: These emotions fade fast. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, I’ve watched a couple of their victories and have enjoyed their 4-1 start to the season. But the Cowboys’ success has done nothing to arouse a broader, deeper hope or optimism in my life.
This is because there is no long-term or fundamental hope in the world of sports. It’s the same with movies, tv shows, YouTube and video games. The best these worlds can offer is a disappointingly short moment of excitement.
The world we enter when we study the Holy Bible is different. “The unfolding of thy words gives light,” wrote the prophet Jeremiah (Psalm 119:130; rsv). Studying God’s Word, His thoughts and doctrines, His plan for man and our future, brings light into our lives. The word “light” here means shine or break of day. When we study God’s Word, it’s like a new day dawns in our lives.
This word can also mean “set on fire.” Studying the mind of God will set our minds on fire with hope and enthusiasm for God and His plan! And this fire of excitement and hope is unquenchable; if we feed it daily, it keeps on burning, making us perpetually and fundamentally positive and hopeful (even in trial or moments of disappointment).
Jeremiah wrote that God’s “word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9). Squid Game or the Dallas Cowboys will never have that effect!
In Psalm 119:25, Jeremiah writes, “I lie in the dust; revive me by your word” (New Living Translation). Another translation says, “I lie defeated in the dust.” Isn’t this a bit how you feel when you look at the state of this world and think about its future? Defeated. Despondent. Depressed.
When we feel this way, and we all do (or will), remember Jeremiah’s solution. We will never be revived by YouTube, or movies, music and video games. We can only be revived, brought back to life—infused with eternal hope—by the Word of God!
If you have never studied the Bible, you must try it. Together with prayer, and being converted and having God’s Holy Spirit put in your mind, immersing your mind in the world of the Bible is your only hope! “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” wrote the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:13.
Where do I start? you ask. Why not start by reading Mystery of the Ages, by Herbert W. Armstrong. This book explains this world like no other book does, except the Bible. If you want to study something a little shorter, or seek some guidance on how to study the Bible, read our articles “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” and “Energize Your Bible Study.”
If you really want to get to know the Bible more deeply and visit the world of the Word of God in a lot more detail, enroll in our free 36-lesson Bible correspondence course.
Perhaps you aren’t ready right now to enter the world of the Holy Bible. At some point here in the near future, you will be. I know this not just because the Bible says so; I know it because I see the state of this present evil world and the trajectory it is on. All of the catastrophic problems engulfing us right now are only going to get worse. We’ll soon be reacting to real-life world events the same way some react to Squid Games.
Believe me, you will soon be exhausted of this world and ready to enter another. When this moment comes, just remember that there is another wonderful, uplifting world out there—the world of the Holy Bible.