By: Bro. Joel Uto
Introduction: The bible has a great deal to say about worldliness none of it is good.
In the epistles, worldliness is depicted as the exact opposite of godliness, he equate worldliness to spiritual immaturity 1 Cor. 3:1-3 where he addressed the Christians in regard to their worldly behavior. They were spiritual babes who could not understand the deep things of God. The lesson of today seek to know the strong effects normally bad influences of worldliness upon the life of persons saved in Christ. In the course of the teaching we shall try to know or establish the fact of worldliness amongst the individual and the collective body.
The adjective form known as Kosmikos, is found only twice in the Greek New Testament which is translated “worldly” or “of the world” in the KJV and ASV. It is used in two senses:
- It is used with that which pertains to the realm of the earth thus “earthly”. E.g 9:1, showing a contrast of between the heavenly order of the N/T regime and the earthly, more carnal in nature of the mosaic covenant.
- Paul declares that Christianity is “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts” and in contrast, living “righteously and godly in this present world” 2:12. In this, we ask ourselves what things am I doing that prevent me from being seen spiritual or seen worldly.
According to Thayer (1958, 357) worldliness embraces that are which is devilish and seductive. It has to do with matters that serves as obstacles to the service of God, and in many cases lure the Christian away from being interested in Christ altogether.
Our focus will be some basic traits of worldliness. The flow towards them and away from them. The fact is that Christians should categorically say no to worldly lusts, materialism, carnality etc otherwise a little to the world practices and a little of God’s can’t bring out our spirituality and growth in Him!
What is worldliness?
To understand the impact (the strong and bad effects/influence) of worldliness, this would be discussed from the vantage view points of the things Christians do that share more in common with the world and contrast between spiritual growth.
The dictionary defines “worldly” as relating to, or devoted to the world that is temporal. Worldliness, then is the condition of being concerned with worldly or earthly affairs especially to the neglect or little doing of spiritual affairs. It is a spiritual loss Mark 8:36. A tendency to imitate worldly customs 1 John 2:17, Matt. 6:19, Lk. 9:25. It is upholding earthly affections supreme. 1 Cor. 7:32-33.
Individuals and the church become worldly, earthly or carnal when there is a stay away from preaching and teaching on the standards of biblical morality, engaging in social partying of all kinds and espousing the values of the surrounding culture more than the teaching of the scriptures. In this arises “introductions” with the snack” does it matters or what is wrong if we do it”? Christians should heed the biblical warnings; Lk. 21:34, Rom. 12:2, James 4:4, 2 Cor. 6:14 the world is capable of stealing the Christians away as it did to Demas – 2 Tim. 4:10.
We examine some traits basic to Christian living to determine whether worldliness has impacted at all.
- The flesh over the spirit: worldliness raises high the urging of the flesh over the beneficial teachings to the spirit. It is the willingness to attach importance to things or events that satisfy the carnal mind than the spirit man. 2 Cor. 12:7, 1 Cor. 1:26, Jude 19.
Are you more inclined to social partying than preaching, teaching the gospel? What is your fasting and prayer life? Does the church put off spiritual engagements to the satisfaction of flesh (Burials, marriages, other social things). Are the leaders of the church giving preferences to socialization than spiritual Acts 6:4?
Living for the flesh is set in vivid contrast to serving in the spirit. Rom. 8:4-6, Gal. 5:16 cf 1 Pet. 2:11.
The outward man over the inward man, the Christian who doesn’t grow spiritually is noted to care so much about the flesh, how to glamourize the body inordinately (going excess) such have no extra ordinary concern over the inner man. 1 Tim. 4:7, Heb. 5:14, 12:11
- Earthly time over eternity: the worldly person (ekinstian) is fixated (arrested in development) upon now than then; there is no concept of redeeming the time 5:16. This explains the attitude of going and coming into the presence of God late or total absence when duty calls. How do you use your time? Is there time for God and his laid down way? God expects the spirit man to honour him with all his soul, mind and strength Matt. 4:10, Mark 10:20. Do you sacrifice for Christ at all? Matt. 10:37, what is your love like? Real or materialistic Rom. 12:1-16.
In the light of the above analysis and many more from the scriptures, the church and every individual could know the level of worldliness.
What is Spiritual growth? Having discussed worldliness, we should now understand what spiritual growth is all about and ascertain individually as a church whether there is spiritual growth within.
Spiritual growth should be seen as
- Increasing in your knowledge and understanding of God’s word.
- Decreasing in your frequency, interest and severity of sin
- Increasing in your practice of Christ – like qualities with increasing faith and trust in God.
Summarily, spiritual growth is becoming more like Jesus Christ.
Christ is the ultimate example of what it truly means to be spiritual 1 Cor. 11:1.
Spiritual growth is detailed in 2 Pet. 1:3-8. Worldliness can hinder the presence of these in the Christian life. Christians are equipped to grow spiritually 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
Are you walking in the spirit? Gal. 5:16-18, 24-26.
Walking in the spirit means growing in Him and allowing the spirit to fill you Eph. 5:18
Control and guide you lest we live not up in the calling and standing that salvation provides Eph. 4:1
Finally, spiritual growth is a life-long process of manifesting the acts of the flesh less and less daily Gal. 5:19-21. And producing the fruits of the spirit more and more every day Gal 5:22-23.
The test case for all of us would be in all of these, how are you going? What qualities of the fruit of the spirit are in you? Am I a Christian, spirit filled in the church gathering and worldly man at home and places?
The spirit and the flesh war against themselves Gal. 5:16. Ostensibly, one must overtake the other. You can’t be in the two at the same time. To be growing in the spirit is better. We all need to repent of our worldly attitude and actions. 1 John 2:15-16. Control your flesh (desires), your eyes and your lifestyle.
God bless you all