“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
“For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world…” (2 Timothy 4:10)
How did Demas go from dedication to desertion? He didn’t turn the corner on a dime. He did so over a period of time. The signs and symptoms often remain inward. A dull conscience and a listless soul. Affection and passion for the Lord Jesus and His church dims. Often people think they are just temporally preoccupied. But they have fallen in love with this present world. We are a desensitized people.
We are not under attack from without; we are decaying from within. Our love for the things of this world has watered down and weakened our witness. We have so little influence over the world because the world has too much influence over the church. The more distinct we are from the world, the powerful our witness against sin.
What is the world we are forbidden to love? The world God forbids us to love is the fallen world, those at enmity with God. It is the organized system energized by Satan. Worldliness is a love for the fallen world. It is gratifying and exalting oneself in exclusion to God. Our opinions are exalted above God’s commands and promises. Worldly people move forward instead of upward. Worldliness is a human nature without God.
Worldliness begins inside and works itself outward.
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16)
The essence of worldliness is in the cravings of sinful man. You must start with yourself. Discern your own heart. The cravings we have are often legitimate desires that become inward demands. We are obsessed with the things of this world. Our hearts are a perpetual factory of idols. These cravings are often aroused by what we see. If you’re more excited by what you see in this world than you are about what you see in the Lord Jesus, you’ve succumbed to the world. Still others, are so proud and revel in what they have and what they have done.
“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)
These things don’t last; they pass away. There is no future to worldliness …none. The world sparkles and dazzles, but does not deliver as advertised. Sin always carries the seeds of dissatisfaction and destruction. But there is a future in godliness and doing the will of God. They will live forever.
Resisting worldliness means cutting it out of our hearts. We cannot overcome it on our own. But God has provided all we need to do so through the cross. We not only have forgiveness of sin, we have the power to overcome it in the Gospel. Fill your hearts with the love of God, and you will resist the world. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)
Resisting worldliness is absolutely vital, but Jesus Christ must be preeminent. Worldliness is so serious because Christ is so glorious.