“Love not the world… 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 of the world, and the world passeth away…” -1 John 2:15-17
Remember Louis Armstrong’s great What A Wonderful World? Angie and I had that song played at our wedding. This truly is a wonderful world in many respects. It’s the place where we view the glory of God in creation. This world is where Jesus came to minister and to give His life a ransom for many. This world is where Jesus found me and saved me and is now using believers across the world to extend His Kingdom. But this world is not everything. In fact, it isn’t even permanent.
John and other New Testament writers often used the word “world” (kosmos) to refer, not to the physical creation (though that was the literal meaning of kosmos), but to what we might call today, secularism. The “world” of which John spoke was the human realm of thinking, devoid of God. It’s the realm in which Satan attempts to pull us away from God through his three primary tempting agents: the lust of the flesh (that which feels good to our body), the lust of the eyes (that which appeals to our sight), and the pride of life (that which fills us with a false sense of fulfillment or self-achievement).
Preachers used to speak of “worldliness” more in churches, but it was usually in reference to cultural stigmas such as going to dances or movies or having the wrong haircut. Worldliness is much broader than these or any other simple actions. Worldliness is thinking in temporal terms, living for the here and now with total disregard to eternity. We’ll either live in fear of an eternal God or we’ll be left to our own devices (i.e. worldliness).
When left with the choice between living in godless humanism or godly cosecration, let us remember the words of Peter Marshall, “It is Christ or chaos!” Are your everyday decisions informed by Scripture or society? Do you think in spiritual terms or cultural tones? Does Christ have all of you or do you have one foot in the church and the other in the world?