What in the Word/World is Worldliness?

What in the Word/World is Worldliness?
By James L. Kilgore

We live in a world that questions everything, and especially the things we consider to be good principles of godly living. There are definite answers in the Word of God. As long as we follow the teachings of the Word, we will be safe and will have the peace of God in our hearts.  Doubts and confusion about things we consider to be important to us need to be settled if we are to speak in a positive manner.

There is a definite black and white (wrong and right) distinction, but is there also a gray area? Yes, I think so. Usually, it is in the so called gray area where there is stumbling, uncertainty, and double mindedness. In this area we deal with fads, fashions, trends, situations, and changes that we do not find specifically spelled out for us in Scriptures. However, every Pentecostal preacher must be dedicated enough so that he can “hear what the Spirit is saying to the church” and speak from a heart that is burdened enough to care enough to give a certain sound that will represent a positive direction for those to whom he preaches in order to inspire them to go forward.

Here are six ways to test doubtful things by the Word of God:

  1. Is it of the world? (I John 2:15-16)
    2. Is it to the glory of God? (I Corinthians 10:31)
    3. Is it a weight or a sin? (Hebrews 12:1-2)
    4. Will it be a stumbling block to others? (Romans 14:21)
    5. Does it make provision for the flesh? (Romans 13:14)
    6. Does it promote holiness and holy living? (Hebrews 12:14).

    First, we must ask ourselves, Is it of the world? We can find the answer to this question by asking other questions. Does it appeal to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life? Is it a craving for sensual gratification, a greedy longing of the mind, or a false security of earthly things? God’s holy Word definitely teaches that television, movies, worldly music, magazines, make-up, jewelry, and even some clothing we wear could easily fall into this category.

    We must remember that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4). Now, there is a difference between loving our world in the sense we know it is lost and needs to be saved and being a part of our world as its friend. Jesus was a friend of sinners, but because He refused to have friendship with the world, He was crucified. The world did not know Him: “For had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Corinthians 2:8 NKJV). Just as His lifestyle was different from the world of His day, even so our lifestyle is to be separate in our day.

    Second, Is it to the glory of God? Paul, in his dealing with the subject of idolatry and eating meat that had been used in the worship of idols, dealt with the important matter of conscience. Everyone of us must have a clean and clear conscience as we live for God in our present world. Whatever we eat, or drink, or whatever we do, should be to honor and glorify God. Could a Christian eat meat that had been offered to Buddha or to a heathen god? No, I think not. Daniel refused to do so because he purposed in his heart not to eat or drink that which had been used in idol worship (Daniel 1:8). No one could drink wine or strong drink, or smoke, or use foul language, or overindulge in eating, or overindulge in recreation and expect these activities to be for the glory of God.

    Third, Is it a weight or sin? If we see or feel anything that is a part of our lifestyle becoming a weight and if we do not lay it aside, before long it will become as sin to us, and eventually we will be ensnared by it. Jesus said, “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts become overcharged with surfeiting (giddiness and nausea of self-indulgence), and drunkenness, and cares of this life” (Luke 21:34). By taking heed to the Word of God, we will know when anything becomes a weight to us. Many things such as fishing, hunting, golfing, and other sports could very easily become a weight that will lead to sin.

    Fourth, Will it become a stumbling block to others? If we could sincerely ask ourselves, “How will I affect others in what I am doing?” then we would be more careful in our every action and deed. The Bible teaches that no one lives to himself (Romans 14:7). Our whole lives are to be lived in the fear of God and in behalf of others. This awareness certainly should affect our conversation, and should carry over into our everyday living.

    I have been embarrassed in restaurants and business places at the spirit and attitude that some so-called Christians manifest in their demands and self-centeredness. We must never forget what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount: we are the salt of the earth, and we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). How many have stumbled over something we either said or did?

    A Chinese became a Christian, and the minister wanted to know what testimony or message won him to Christ. His answer was, “I didn’t hear a testimony, I saw one.” He observed a Christian day after day, and was soon convinced and converted.

Fifth, Does it make provision for the flesh? In this area, we need to be extra careful. Our flesh is in constant opposition to the things of the Spirit. The flesh wants to be petted, honored, praised, and to have its own way. This question that I am asking to test doubtful things could represent anything from lust, passion, pride, selfishness, self-centeredness, to the love of money, comfort, pleasure, luxurious living. Is our thinking constantly on things that provide for the flesh? Paul tells us that if we live after the flesh (according to the dictates of flesh) we shall die. But if we through the Spirit mortify (deprive of power, put to death) the deeds of the body, we shall live (Romans 8:13).

Sixth, Does it promote holiness and encourage holy living? Just how important is this holiness business, and just what is holiness anyway?  A simple answer could be given in one word: separation. Because every place we see holiness in the Bible, it deals with purification, sanctification, and separation.

We must be careful to be obedient to the Word of God. The hair question should not be a question because the whole idea in I Corinthians I I is obedience. Women do not cut their hair, and men keep their hair cut because God’s order for men and women is to recognize authority, God’s order, and obedience-because of the angels.  The very presence of the angels and their obedience remind us of the fallen angels and their rebellion, the original sin. We do not want to allow ourselves to be involved in the original sin of disobedience and rebellion.

The Word also plainly teaches men and women to wear apparel designed to make a man look manly and a woman look feminine. Deuteronomy 22:5 has never changed inasmuch as anything that was an abomination to God at any time will always be an abomination. How could a woman wearing tight jeans promote holy living? Nature itself teaches us some things. This article is written with the purpose of giving some simple guidelines that we can live by. We must also keep in mind Paul’s teaching in 11 Corinthians 7:1, that in our doctrine of separation as is listed in 11 Corinthians 6:11-18, we must be careful to have the correct godly spirit and attitude at all times.

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