“Be holy, as I am holy.” This command issued in the Old Testament is repeated by Peter in the New (1Pt.1:15-16). This clarion call is a hallmark of biblical Christianity. Positionally we are declared righteous when we place our trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. Practically the Christian is to live each day in a manner worthy of his position. This means there is an expected practical outworking of holiness in the life of a child of God.
Perhaps it is our search for relevance, or maybe our desire for acceptance by the mainstream movers and shakers, but we face a dilemma in our day of Christians who act, think and talk like the world! Our modern dilemma is not something new. Consider the words of the Apostle John found in I John 2.15-17; here is what he wrote:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.”
This warning centers around the affections of the heart! What are you in love with? What do you value most? Where does your heart and mind go in the free time?
It will help us understand the Apostle’s warning if we define what he means by the world. The “World” can be defined as “the Community of sinful humanity that possesses a spirit of rebellion against God.”
The best definition that I have heard for Worldliness was offered by Pastor Dave Doran:
“Worldliness is to have a heart and mind shaped by the worlds beliefs and values (1 John 2:15-17; Matt 6:24-33; 13:22) so that we engage in its sinful pleasures (Eph 4:17-19, 22; 1 Peter 4:2-5) and pursue earthly treasures (Matt 6:19-24; Col 3:1-4; 1 John 2:17).”
We are not to love the world because we we are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. We cannot love God and love the world at the same time. The values of God and the values of the world are mutually exclusive. A Christian must make a daily choice whose values to embrace. God calls us to submission, surrender and obedience. The world scoffs at those values and calls us to throw off external authority and live for ourself.
John in his short letter tells us that we are not to love the world because the world and the things of the world are temporary, they are passing away. What the world offers cannot satisfy for more than a moment, they are transient. As soon as you grab hold of them in hopes of finding happiness or fulfillment, they slip through your fingers like the wind. God has created us in Christ Jesus to live for things that will last for all eternity – “he who does the will of God abides forever!” (17b)
Here’s How the World Operates
The World has its own priorities (Col. 2:8); values (Eph. 2:2) and fashion (I Co. 7:31). The world system is controlled by Satan, called the god of this world in Jn. 12:31, II Co. 4:4. All humanity outside of Jesus Christ are energized by the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.”
The World entices a Christian to fall in love with it, to conform to its priorities, values and fashion. The World appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (16). When a Christian fall for the temptation of the World in that moment he embraces a value of the world that is directly opposed to a value of Christ. In that moment the Christian becomes like the world – worldly. A Christian lifestyle that embraces the values of the world erodes the testimony of the believer, and clouds the beauty of the Savior who lives within him.
A child of God does not become worldly overnight. Worldliness is a process. Warren Wiersbe suggests that worldliness begins with FRIENDSHIP with the world (Jas. 4:4); then the Christian becomes SPOTTED by the world (Jas. 1:27); and finally the Christian becomes CONFORMED to the world. When a Christian is conformed to the world the casual observer can no longer tell the two apart (Ro. 12:2).
Disastrous Results of Loving The World
Falling in love with the world has at least four disastrous results in the life of a Christian (15):
- The Christian will forsake God and His work? (Col. 4:14; Phm. 1:24; II Ti. 4:10). Because if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us (15).
- The Christian makes themselves an enemy of God (James 4:4). They literally side with Gods enemies against their Savior.
- The Christian falls to sins that corrupt us (II Pt. 1:4, I Jn. 2:16). The Christian no longer lives in victory over sin.
- The Christian is ultimately deceived by false teachers (I Jn. 4:1, II Jn. 7). Worldliness in Christianity is a breeding ground for false teachers & teaching.
The church today seems to be facing a dilemma of worldly Christians. Are you a worldly Christian? Does love for the Father control your life or do you love the world and what it offers?
Guard your affections! Evaluate your values to be sure that you are not living as a worldly Christian.