What is worldliness?
Some people feel that playing cards, socially dancing, or sipping an alcoholic beverage is worldliness. Some feel listening to rock or rap music is worldly. Others feel going to the movies is worldliness. How do you define worldliness? Or more importantly, how does God define worldliness?
Remember those early days when you were still dating and the other person was shocked at the end of the date to find out that you were a baptized Believer?. As one person explained in amazement, ”I never knew anyone who could be a Christian and have so much real fun.” Some people have the impression that a Christ-follower lives a dull, boring, totally unfulfilled life. That a real, religious person would spend their entire day at church or serving the helpless and never spend a few moments enjoying life’s gifts. Quite the opposite if you ask us. Life in Christ is always new and you experience it everywhere you go.
How many of you truly believe that if Jesus walked within our churches today, the majority of people would probably classify Him as worldly? Many of us would probably be shocked to discover that he enjoyed being with people of all races, economic, social, and educational levels. He would probably enjoy a good party. People in His time called Him a “glutton and wine bibber.” Which means the religious people of the time perceived that he ate and drank too much. He also spent time with the undesirables of His time. The prostitutes found a friend in Him. The tax collectors found acceptance from Him. He was looked upon as a wimp because of the many women (who were considered second class citizens at the time) who supported Him and His ministry. Like the apostle Paul after Him, He was all things to all people. He communicated with people from their level, from their understanding, from their perspective. He first accepted them as they were, then He challenged them to follow Him; to deny themselves, to take up their cross, and to follow Him.
To surrender all: not just status, power, time, money, or relationships, but attitude, heart, and mind. Jesus surrendered all to His Dad. That is why He could mingle among the people and escape from being controlled by the current culture, social pressure, or religious traditions. He was free from the taboos of His time. He expressed the love of God in His actions, thoughts and deeds. He went to the spiritually sick. He wasn’t concerned with outward appearances. He wasn’t concerned with what people would say. His concern was preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God and ministering to those His Heavenly Dad sent His way.
What is worldliness?
Is it the outward appearance of doing what everyone else does in the world for fun? Or is it a much deeper? Is it a matter of the heart? Is it a matter of attitude and spirit? Is it more than just actions? We believe so. In fact, some of the more worldly people we know are religious fanatics. They attack, accuse, gossip, and spread discord among one another. Instead of trying to discern the spirit, they evaluate the situation according to their standard of righteousness. Typically, a standard that is even higher than God’s. Are we not thankful that grace is available from Him to all people?
We are also thankful that in Christ we are free from being obligated to pursue the passions of this world. We find real fulfillment while pursuing the spirit-filled life in Jesus; were there are no overnight penalties with our fun. Where the good gifts of life are already paid for by our Savior and the Spirit is positive, caring, and peaceful. Who needs the world’s definition of fun when being a disciple of His gives so much more than the world can ever give?
A DISCIPLE’S PRAYER
Our Joyous Dad, thank you for your eternal riches. Thank you for creating fun and joys without penalties. Thank you for lavishing your abundant riches into our lives. You are truly awesome.
Thank you for patiently teaching us how to have fun without sin. Help us to continue to live life in your presence; to enjoy the riches of this life through your eyes. To experience pleasures that you reserve for your children. Help us all to truly appreciate your pleasing, humorous, fun-loving side. You are truly awesome. Thank you and thank you for your awesomeness. Amen.
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