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The Hazards of City Living

While it is easy to write an article on the negative effects of the city on one’s physical health, this article will focus on the mental effects of city living. It is not a widely acknowledged fact that city living impacts one’s education. It is understood however, that by beholding we become changed. If you would consider this saying in the light of what we are beholding everyday in the city, the change wrought is often in the mind. An adjustment to the unnatural environment, though small and imperceptible at first, is inevitable. To survive in the city takes a certain level of awareness and consciousness that is self-preserving. Having been to a number of large cities I have observed, the sheer scale of the buildings, the compact nature of everything, the pace of life, the environment and the absence of large areas of green: these all have their influence on everyone living there. No explanation needs be made of the levels of crime, violence and illegal activities found in the streets and tenements. To settle and live in the city requires a level of street sense that must be learnt as quickly as possible. For those growing up in the city, this education becomes second nature and can be very difficult to uproot.

When one has lived in the city for a long time, the move to the country seems like a change of worlds. The slow pace, the abundance of green, the absence of man-made convenient facilities, the darkness of the night, the infrequent neighbor sighting and the need to do many things for oneself, all requires an adjustment that some little realize. But how were we created? Man was designed to function most efficiently in a natural environment, it is only when we drift away from God that we find it comfortable to live in the cities. Yes, there are good people in the cities but these people are often ignorant of a better life awaiting them in the country.

One must always remember that upon creation and even after sin, God kept the ties of man to nature tight. He was told to still work the ground, keep in contact with where he came from. City living gives man an exalted view of himself. Surrounded by the constant achievements of man architecturally, the mind is unconsciously shaped into an attitude of reverence for man that produces men pleasers. Self-confidence, arrogance and pride is feed and man driven by his carnal nature finds himself comfortable in such an environment.

Unfortunately, the hazards of city living are not obvious to those living in the city. The hum of life there goes at a pace that one has little time for rest and reflection and thus an awareness of one’s wretched condition goes unnoticed. The drive to obtain the needed dollar consumes the thoughts and occupies the time. All this is considered normal and even natural by some. The mind has been conditioned to function at a level of survival, thus the temporary becomes more important than the eternal. Things of this earth are continually flashed before the mind and thus weighs heavier on the mind than things of the hereafter.

Unfortunately, the approach to studying God’s word is affected by the city. In the same hustled, quick, shallow yet polite way, the Bible is read. Yes, it is nice to read the Bible but thorough study requires at times a more flexible schedule than is often possible in city living. In order to get everything done, time is often sectioned off into blocks where everything can fit in working order and communion with God is timetabled. Knowing God’s will is often subject to interpretation based on how it could fit into the flow of life. The commands of God are often accepted in a delayed manner, meaning that obedience is deferred to a time when it seems possible. Thus, the spiritual life does not have a pervasive influence on all aspects of the life.

A simple daily requirement of food is made into a complicated mental mine-field for man. Advertisements on billboards and other flashing signs invite one to participate in many a culinary delight, but how many of these are prepared in a manner that pleases the Lord. The fleshpots of Egypt are abundant in the city and the wide variety of pallet-pleasing dishes appeal to many. It’s like the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, on steroids, as satan appeals to the appetite once again. Adhering to the counsels on diet and foods therefore becomes either difficult or very expensive. The disease-causing Egyptian diet is more affordable and convenient than the diet enjoined by God for man.

 City living therefore can shape your mind to the point where you are unable to make a wise decision. even when you choose to leave the city. Like Lot, you may look for a smaller city when the Lord ask you to go to the mountains. Thus, you should be aware that when visiting a country area, it may often be difficult to ascertain what is of value and what may be necessary for living in such a space. Deciding to purchase rural property should therefore only be done in consultation with someone who has been living in the countryside for a while. A realistic sense of the essentials of living takes time and experience in actual country living. The superfluity of the city life places an emphasis on how things appear, while in true country living, the reality is more important than the show.

Someone may reason that it is possible to grow up in the c i t y and not be contaminated by it, like a lily in a pond of murky water. While this may seem reasonable, I wish to remind you of Moses, who purposed in his heart to be true to God while growing up in Egypt and yet even he was affected. He killed a man thinking he was doing a good for God’s people. His mental assessment of good and evil was affected. His mind needed to be changed. God worked with him for forty years in a country setting retraining his mind for service. Why take a gamble in the city? Why choose to fight against the tide of worldliness found there? Why not locate yourself in a place more conducive to serving your God? Once you are willing and you put your feet into the water, the sea of impossibilities will part before you.

When God selected Abraham, He separated him from his city upbringing and carried him on a country journey. When he was told that his seed would be as the stars in the sky, Abraham could actually look up and see what God was telling him in demonstration mode. How often is the canvas of the sky with its twinkling stars seen in the city? Or is there an artificial twinkle that the devil has filled the city with, that often catches the attention? The glitter, glamour, pace and noise of the city can be very distracting and hypnotizing to some. These would even argue that city-living is easier than country living, in an attempt to justify their choice. However, we should be reminded that this world is not our home, for we look for a city and a country far better than anything this world has to offer. The promises of God are more real to us than the trinkets of this life.

The longer one stays in the city, the more difficult it seems to leave. Ask Lot, who began by simply pitching his tent toward Sodom. His life only saved by Angels dragging him out before total destruction of the city. It is presumption to plan to be a Lot, hoping that the mercy of God would allow you to stay until the very last minute and then escape. Remember the man walking up and down the streets of Jerusalem just before its destruction, warning the people of the destruction to come? He died in the very destruction. Some people make the excuse that they must stay in the city to warn people of the coming of the Lord but we were advised to work the city from our country outposts. People must see the message being preached to them in the lives of the preachers. It is hypocrisy to tell others to do what we ourselves are not willing to do. Thus, as God’s people begin to live the life that we were instructed to live the world would enquire of us and we would be able to point them to Christ. It should never be forgotten that the point of our existence on this earth is to be witnesses for Christ, living examples for Him. His character alone, replicated in His people, would be the only way we would be admitted into heaven. The city life removes this from present view as many choose to pay instead of pray. There is an erosion of our confidence in God and an increase confidence in what we are able to work out for ourselves on a daily basis. Things, trinkets, instead of character becomes the great measurement of our accomplishments. More and more is acquired with each passing season and sale. A cluttered house and a cluttered mind. Constant mental exertion and worry is considered normal and even essential to existence. The essential building blocks for character development are often pushed aside as the fast pace of life consumes one.

Laying aside the city mentality takes decided effort on one’s part when one moves into the country. Otherwise, one would find themselves establishing a city life in the country. Also, country life would seem more of a burden than a blessing. To reap all the benefits of country living therefore the Lord has to be allowed to remold the mind. It is not a job that we can do ourselves, it can only be done as we surrender our traditional city mind to Christ and ask for Him to make the necessary changes. This unfortunately is not always a pleasant experience and can be very humbling. Yet, it is exactly what we all need to be able to make it to heaven. May this change be a welcomed experience in your life.

Written by:

Nicole Belfast

EventHealth Training and Country Living Seminar: God's Healing Way

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