BY: RUSSELL MCLAUGHLIN
The word “worldliness” does not appear in the standard versions of the Bible, but the trait is referred to often. Worldliness is a condition of being worldly. Are you worldly? The ‘world’ we are warned in God’s word not to embrace is not merely the material world we live in. It is, rather, the moral and spiritual mores that stand in opposition to God and that is alienated from God. All those who love and are influenced by the world stand opposed to and are alienated from God. What are some of the warnings the Lord gives us against worldliness?
“Be not fashioned by it.” (Romans 12:2) The people of the world are constantly pressuring us to be like them. They don’t want to do right and they don’t want anyone putting them to shame by doing right. They harass, ridicule, denounce, curse, and sometimes inflict bodily injury in their attempt to make the righteous conform to their standards. Paul says we must resist all such pressures. Why should children of God let 21st century Philistines determine how we talk, how we dress, what we will do for recreation, how we will spend our money, etc.? We have a Savior who died and is raised to become our Lord, our Ruler. If you are a Christian, Christ set your standards. If the world dictates your behavior, you are not a Christian, regardless of how many times you go to worship, how often you read the word, how much you pray, or if you are baptized or not.
“Be not a lover of it.” (I John 2: 15-17) John makes the issue very clear in this passage. We must make a choice between loving the world with its temptations, trinkets, and treasures and loving God. Love for the world excludes love for God, because all that the world stands for is opposed to God and will sooner or later perish.
“Be not stained by it.” (James 1:27) Worldly behavior in a Christian soil and stains the fabric of his life. It prevents the practice of pure undefiled service to God. Those who engage in the sins of the world advertise a most low and woefully ignorant view of the ethical standards taught in the New Testament. What they want is to behave in the ways of the world while maintaining respectability in the Church. It can’t be that way. We can’t run with goats and not smell like them! True disciples abhor worldliness.
The worldly church member not only invites the application of “hypocrite” upon himself, but upon the whole church. Let’s not be worldly but transformed by the renewing of our mind. (Romans 12:2)