What does it mean to be worldly? Most of us associate worldliness with the way people dress or the way they wear their makeup. But what exactly is worldliness?
There are several words in the Bible that have been translated the world. The most significant one is kosmos.
The basic meaning of Kosmos is: order, orderly arrangement. In its theological term kosmos is the way the human societies are ordered and arranged. Most of us are familiar with the story of the fall in the book of Genesis.
The temptation there was one of autonomy, autonomy from God. If you could decide what is good or bad for you by your own observation why do you need God? You, yourself can become like God by knowing what is good or bad for you. Adam and Eve decided to become autonomous from God and caused all of their offspring to become autonomous as well.
The question before us is this, the people who are autonomous from God, what kind of societies do they produce? What do they value and pursue?
1 John 2:16 tells us what kind of order and arrangement are in the fallen human societies. We read “for all that is in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life…”
The people of the world who are separated from God, their main objective in life is the pursuit and fulfillment of their cravings. These cravings include their fallen nature’s desires as well as the things that they see and want. They also put their hope and confidence in the accumulation of earthly things and goods.
What is interesting is, this is a worldwide phenomenon. Can you think of any society whose people are not pursuing after these things?
The picture that we have here is one of fulfillment of ourselves above all else. We live to pursue what we desire and want. A worldly person is a person who has the pursuit of his desires as the goal of his life. The difference between a Christian and a worldly person is one of values.
Christians are called to live in this order but not get seduced by it or embrace its values. The Christian should be a non-conformist and not for non-conformist sake, but because they belong to another kingdom.
They need to not allow their societies to conform them to its mold. But be transformed by the renewing of their mind and adapt God’s values and ways of fulfilling their passions and desires.
Our values are not shaped by government or the Supreme Court, but by the revealed word of God. We have a monarch and we are his ambassador in this order. We are to reflect his ways and values. Where we could go wrong is to reduce our non-conformity to outward appearances only.
I do not want to minimize our outward appearance, but the danger is we could dress very modestly but still be very worldly in our attitude and values.
We want to be a people who live God- centered lives rather than self-centered lives. A people who fulfill their desires based on God’s way rather than their own way. People who value the world to come and put their treasures there rather than here.
People who are faithful to their spouses and are kind and loving. To be not worldly has more to do with our values and what we pursue.
We should not look to the people of the world for approval or validation. Their values are different than ours, the kingdom of God is governed by God. The kingdoms of this world are governed by Satan.
May the Lord bless you as you try to conform to his image and likeness.
May the Lord be with you all