I feel a sense of urgency to warn you against worldliness, not because I believe the world is absent of good stuff, but rather, because I believe a lot of good stuff can take the place of God in your life and set you on a destructive path.
Furthermore, most of what is “cool” today will be antiquated in a few years. I’ve lived long enough to see this cycle happen again and again. Therefore, there is no sense in pursuing worldliness. In fact, it can damage your walk with Jesus faster than you may realize.
Before defining worldliness, I want to clarify two things. First, I’m not intentionally trying to sound like an angry old guy. I’m not angry. I’m also 33 years old, which means, I have a lot of learning to do. Second, I’m writing this post because I’m an expert at chasing silly stuff that leads nowhere. I’m hoping you will learn from my experience and keep your faith and joy intact.
Chasing Fads & Hipsters
New Oxford American Dictionary defines worldliness as “concern with material values or ordinary life rather than a spiritual existence.” That’s not a bad definition. I like that it mentions the absence of spiritual existence because, in essence, that’s exactly what it is. I think, however, the definition could go a bit further.
J. Ligon Duncan III described the consequences of worldliness in this way: “Worldliness is…soul-destroying and joy-robbing because it tricks our hearts into seeking satisfaction in what can never satisfy and thus slowly strangles us of the experience of being fully alive to God.” That’s a great way to put it! Sadly, many Christians live in that strangling reality. The saddest part is, they are unaware of it.
Where are you? Do you care more about being cool than being with Jesus?
Remember our call from the Lord? He said we must pick up our cross and follow Him, not the fleeting pleasures of this life (Matthew 16:24-26). There is no room for worldliness in such a calling.
Instead of chasing the up-and-coming cities, trends, or devices, Christians should be chasing the one who died in their place for their sin so they can experience that which is truly life.
Chasing fads or hipsters will leave you high and dry.
I mentioned that I’m an expert at chasing silly stuff that leads nowhere. I want to explain that a bit.
Most of my struggle with worldliness has stemmed from a misplaced identity. I was a skateboarder, until I was not. I was a musician, until my “fame” went to my head and I quit for prideful reasons. I was a Coloradan and outdoor enthusiast, until I realized that no one was impressed. As of late, I’ve been a cyclist. The list goes on.
There are some better things I could place my identity in. For instance, I’m a husband and father. Those roles are the most satisfying (and difficult) ones of my life. Yet, even the best things about me don’t ultimately or truly define who I am at my core. That designation is reserved for God alone.
I understand that these things aren’t silly per se, yet, the place of affection they once held in my life is pretty silly.
When you and I give our ultimate allegiance to anything other than God, we worship that thing. It becomes our greatest treasure.
I have learned that the best thing for me to do when I fall back into this mode of living is refocus my attention on Christ. If you find yourself living this way, set your mind on Jesus, through whom and for whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16).
Some Thoughts to Help You Get Back on Track
The Bible tells us to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). Also, Paul argues that a Christian should “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
We are affected by the world in both a physical and spiritual sense. What we allow into our lives affects everything about our joy, peace, and mental stability. I’m in no way an expert on mental health, but I’ve lived long enough to know that what you allow into your mind will determine the trajectory of your life.
Is Satan Deceiving You?
Getting back on track will not be easy. Our world is not perfect. We live in a world that has been hijacked by evil. Satan and his demons are seeking to destroy you and everyone around you.
He operates in stealth. He is a deceiver and liar (John 8:44). He leads the whole world astray (Revelation 12:9). He works in ways that seem harmless to many, yet, overtime, a person’s life is dismantled from the design and intention of their Creator.
I’m sure some of you at this point are thinking, “Satan? Really? Are you trying to convince me that the devil is real? Isn’t that an outdated belief?” Yes I am and no it is not.
Here’s a sobering thought. The Bible says the gospel of Jesus is veiled to those who are perishing. It goes on to state, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
You may not believe in Satan and demons, but it’s possible you have been blinded by the devil you claim doesn’t exist. I don’t say that to be harsh. I just know Satan is a real threat to your life and your eternity.
In closing, we don’t have to pursue worldliness. We can have an abundant life without it. Don’t buy into the lie that says the best life is out there for those who discover it. Jesus says He gives life abundantly to all who trust in Him.
I’ll leave you with a passage of Scripture that has continually shaped my life and thinking.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
1 John 2:15-17