Worldliness

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16).

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)

What does it mean when the Bible tells us to ‘love not the things that are in the world’? What is ‘worldliness’?

Worldliness means to live our lives like the world does – or to put it another way, to live our lives in a way which puts money, possessions, fame or having a good time before God in our lives. It is living in a way which is displeasing to God.

The society in which we live here in the UK promotes worldliness at every level – from advertising designed to make us covet the latest products, to magazines which tell us that we need to look a certain way or own a certain item of clothing or jewellery, to a cult of celebrity where famous people are idolised as gods. From TV to films, from music to computer games, our culture seems consistently to promote a message of worldliness, with values opposed to those of the Bible.

For example, ‘body art’ has become all the craze as more and more young people get tattoos or piercings to try and change the way they look. However, the Bible tells us in Leviticus 19:28 – “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

The world often judges us and measures our success based on how much money we make, whether or not we have a nice home, car or job. The acquisition of money and possessions is   put forth as the number one goal in our lives. But the Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.’

Many young people live for a life of parties – spending all week waiting for the weekend so they can get drunk or high on drugs and sleep with as many people as they can, in order to seek pleasure and fulfilment. This is all in stark contrast to way the Bible teaches. The Bible warns us against drunkenness and all sex outside of  marriage.

Then there is the world of music and entertainment. These days, the majority of  pop stars won’t even try to sell a record without dressing in very little clothing, promoting sexual immorality and singing lyrics about themes which are contrary to the Bible’s teachings. Sexual immorality is promoted in even the most innocuous of films and TV shows, along with violence and copious amounts of swearing. We have computer games which encourage us to kill people as if it is something ‘good’ and ‘entertaining’. One popular video game even had a patch available which gave people the ability to simulate ‘virtual sex’. Christians should not look on this as ‘harmless entertainment’. The Bible says:

Philipians 4:8 – ‘Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’

We need to ask ourselves, do the things which we choose for entertainment match up with this passage of scripture? If you choose to watch a film, is it a film that you could play if Jesus was sat with you? If the answer to those questions is no, then it is something we shouldn’t be watching.

Being in the world means we can enjoy the things of the world, such as the beautiful creation God has given us, but we are not to immerse ourselves in what the world values, nor are we to chase after worldly pleasures. Pleasure is no longer what we should seek in life as it once was. Our lives should be focused on the Lord, and the plans He has for us. We should live lives of worship which are pleasing to him.

We need to stand out. The world needs to see that there is something different about us. If we live like them, act like them, talk like them, watch and listen to the things they do and if we look like them – what example is this showing? Does it show that we have dedicated our lives to Christ? Does it show that we believe that our treasure is in heaven and not on the earth? As the Bible says, we are called to shine as lights to the world:

 “Do all things without murmurings and disputings:That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16)

We should not conform to the way this world does things; we should be conformed to the Lord’s will. When we walk in a personal relationship with Him, he transforms our mind and our way of thinking. He shows us what is good and acceptable in his sight.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

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2 comments

  1. Symon

    Do you have anything to say about the sin of usury, condemned throughout the Bible and now the basis of Britain’s (and the world’s) economic system? It is condemned far more frequently in the Bible than any sexual sin, as is the sin of exploiting the poor. Yet your website seems to be mostly concerned with sex.

    1. Peter Greensmith

      Sexual sin is the only sin which the Bible calls a sin against your own body. I don’t know where you get your information from, but the Bible speaks far more about sexual sin than it does about usury. In addition to this, usury isn’t concerned with how the majority of people live their everyday lives, whereas sexual morality is.

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