By Bro. James Orhosere (Deacon)
Friendship with the world is the condition of being concerned with worldly affairs, especially to the neglect of spiritual things. The Bible has a great deal to say on this subject matter. In James 4:4, the apostle noted 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. In view of the above, must a follower of Jesus Christ completely isolate himself from the world and everything in it in order to avoid friendship with the world?
Must a Christian be odd or completely out of step with the world? Do they need to look religious in order to avoid friendship with the world? After all, doesn’t the Bible say has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him (James 2:5)?
Can a Christian be wealthy, drive a new car or own a choice property, yet not be caught in things of this world? All men have their opinions on what friendship with the world is but God’s view is the only one that matters here. So what does the Bible say?
GOD WANTS US TO PROSPER
God intends that we have an abundant life. Christ said to the disciples...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly ‐ John 10:10. So, if a Christian works faithfully using God’s given talents and abilities, it is God’s will that he be blessed and prospers.
The problem occurs when a person sets his heart on gaining material wealth when everything he does and thinks about revolves around getting at the expense of his spiritual duties ‐ Matthew 16:26 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? God intends that His children consider material possessions properly to use them wisely for the good of others and self.
OUR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
What about the way you dress – does it matter? The way of a Christian is moderation. Paul instructed the church at Philippi to let your moderation be known to all men…Philippians 4:5. Very few today practice moderation in much of everything – hairstyles, make‐up, fashion, tattoos and body piercing get more outlandish and provocative every day.
Everyone seems to want to outdo every other person. Christians also want to follow the world living according to the course of this world…set by Satan the devil ‐ Ephesians 2:2. By contrast, Christians must be modest and chaste in dressing.
Their appearance should never be shocking or suggestive of evil ‐ 1 Timothy 2:8‐10 8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Remember that God created mankind in His own image and likeness ‐ Genesis 1:26. The body of a converted person is the temple of God, a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. God does not take it kindly when any persons, Christian or non‐Christian defiles his body with piercings or tattoos ‐ Leviticus 19:28 28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.
CALLED OUT OF THE WORLD
Should a Christian try to fit in with the world? What about joining clubs, cults, lodges, political parties or being involved in social activities? Of a truth the word of God has not said thou shall not associate but strictly warned against unequally yoked together ‐ 2 Corinthians 6:14 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? It is left for us to determine what is worldly or not as we consider who to associate with. However, in making our choice here we need to apply the following principles:
- Does it destroy your identity as a Christian by causing you to be regarded as of the world? 2 Corinthians 6:14; 7:1; Romans 12:1‐2.
- Is the choice questionable in your own mind and therefore an offense to your conscience?
a. Romans 14:23 …for whatever is not from faith is sin. You must have full assurance that it is acceptable before God.
- Does it have a weakening influence on others and will it become a stumbling block to them?
a. Wrong to eat meat sacrificed to idols when it led others to stumble, though apart from this influence, when done with a good conscience and sanctified with prayer it was alright 1 Corinthians 10:23 – 33; 8:7‐13.
b. The seriousness of wielding the wrong influence Matthew 18:6‐7
- Is it destructive to your body? I Corinthians 6:19‐20; 10:31
- Does it conflict with your duty as a Christian? Matthew 6:33; I Timothy 2:4
- Does it cultivate an inordinate fleshly appetite? Col. 2:20‐23; 3:5‐6; I Corinthians 8:27
- Does it bring you under weakening association and influence? I Corinthians 15:33; I Thessalonians 5:21‐22
- Does it bring upon you an unequal yoke and place you at disadvantage in serving the Lord? II Corinthians 6:14‐18
If the above questions (any one of them) is answered in the affirmative when applied to the choice, then the gospel of Christ demands that we leave that thing off. Put your life to the test.
Christians are not‐cannot be‐of this world even though they must live in it. God commands His people to come out of her (the ways of this world). Revelation 18:4 4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. The word of God said we should not be looking back after we have been converted longing for what we left behind. Christ instructed in Luke 17:32‐ Remember Lot’s wife. The woman merely looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah and became a pillar of salt as a result.
The point is that she longed for a way of life she had been taken out of. If you are truly avoiding friendship with the world then you are dedicating yourself to God and His way of life. It means you are living your life by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God ‐ Matthew 4:4. You are letting God’s word direct and guide every thought and every activity in which you engage yourself. If you are doing this, you are building godly character, practising balance and moderation in everything you think and do. A word of caution, the world is temporary, John warned ‐ And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever ‐ 1 John 2:17.
Let us not forfeit that reward for a temporal friendship with the world.