The Allure of This World's Treasures and Vanities
In this talk, President Nelson taught:
What does it mean to overcome the world? It means overcoming the temptation to care more about the things of this world than the things of God. It means trusting the doctrine of Christ more than the philosophies of men. It means delighting in truth, denouncing deception, and becoming “humble followers of Christ.” It means choosing to refrain from anything that drives the Spirit away. It means being willing to “give away” even our favorite sins.
Now, overcoming the world certainly does not mean becoming perfect in this life, nor does it mean that your problems will magically evaporate—because they won’t. And it does not mean that you won’t still make mistakes. But overcoming the world does mean that your resistance to sin will increase. Your heart will soften as your faith in Jesus Christ increases. Overcoming the world means growing to love God and His Beloved Son more than you love anyone or anything else.
This past weekend, in the April 2023 General Conference, Elder Evan A. Schmutz elaborated on what it means to trust the doctrine of Christ. This part in particular resonated with me in light of the changes I have been trying to make recently with respect to the quantity and quality of media I consume:
If we trust the doctrine of Christ, we will set aside the shiny things of the world so that we can focus on the Redeemer of the world. We will limit or eliminate time spent on social media, digital games, wasteful, excessive, or inappropriate entertainment, the allure of this world's treasures and vanities, and any other activities that give place to the false traditions and misguided philosophies of men. It is only in Christ we find truth and lasting fulfillment.
Countless times have I succumbed to “the allure of this world's treasures and vanities.” In the moment, they provide entertainment, distraction, even a sense of purpose or belonging. But not only are the world's treasures and vanities unfulfilling, they are fleeting.
Recreation and relaxation are important for our health. But if I am honest with myself, much of my video watching and video gaming screen time has been excessive. I think of just one of the video games I was addicted to in the past. I have spent the equivalent of more than three months of my life – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – playing this game. And aside from a few fun memories playing this game with my brothers, I have nothing in the real world to show for it. That's time I can never get back. Time I could have spent learning a new skill, developing a new talent, volunteering in the community, strengthening my relationships with family and friends, reading, writing, praying, studying, etc. And how many other video games have I been addicted to over the years! How many TV shows and movies have I binged! Collectively, I have lost years of time to these hollow pursuits.
I must change. I must be more moderate and intentional in how I use my time for entertainment, recreation, relaxation, and otherwise.
Because at the end of my mortal life, I don't want to be known and remembered for the world's treasures I accumulated or the world's vanities I pursued. That's not the kind of legacy I want to leave behind.