You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4
We were reminded recently at our InStep Conference that worldliness is a sure, although subtle, killer of any local church. But how do we define worldliness?
I believe as Christians we tend to have a legalistic take on worldliness. This lacks the depth of understanding on our part in order to deal with it properly in our own lives. We tend to define worldliness as being about the things we do or don’t do. Worldliness under that definition is a merely about whole bunch of activities that we deem as ungodly; hence we tag the practice of them as worldly!
But worldliness is much deeper than its actions - it is primarily a worldview gained from the world that produces these worldly actions.
John Tripp an English Puritan once said in defining worldliness: Pleasure, profit, preferment are the worldling’s trinity.
But Jerry Bridges supplies a clear and more defined understanding of worldliness in his book, The Disciplines of Grace:
The world…is characterized by the subtle and relentless pressure it brings to bear upon us to conform to its values and practices. It creeps up on us little by little. What was once unthinkable becomes thinkable, then doable, and finally acceptable to society at large. Sin becomes respectable, and so Christians are no more than five to ten years behind the world in embracing most sinful practices.
May we examine our own lives and kill any worldliness that has crept in as described above.