Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How do we recognize worldliness for what it is?

For the past month or so, Tom has been preaching about worldliness during the Sunday morning service. Last Sunday as he preached, I thought of four verses that would help me recognize and deal with worldliness in my own soul. Each of the verses teaches the first half of "the chief end of man." (As a child, I was taught the catechism of the reformed Baptist Christian school I attended in the second grade. I still remember the first question: "What is the chief end of man?" and the answer: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.")

1 Corinthians 10:31: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:17: And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

1 Peter 4:11: If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 1:20: According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

My thoughts along this line were that anything that glorifies Christ is holy. Anything that does not glorify Christ is worldly. If you cannot honestly say that this action, this habit, this clothing, this whatever, glorifies Christ, then that item is worldly.

The problem is that we are now so in tune to the world that we don't even recognize it. It has crept in subtly, unawares. Just like the proverbial frog who was slowly boiled to death, we've been cooked, and don't even realize it.

Some time ago I posted a review of a book I like very much. Here is a quote from that book, that defines the problem quite well:

The problem is that we have mimicked the world for so long--copying their fashions, borrowing their educational and social philosophies, conforming to their dating format, and adopting their dialect--that we do not even realize we have lost our Christian identity. We've been wearing the costume and speaking the language of the world for so long that we don't even recognize ourselves anymore.

So where to we go from here? How do we learn to recognize worldliness for what it is?

More later...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Anything that does not glorify Christ is worldly. If you cannot honestly say that this action, this habit, this clothing, this whatever, glorifies Christ, then that item is worldly."

Can you further explain what you mean by that? Does this mean that all music (for example) must have a Christian theme? Do you feel wearing a bathing suit at the beach is improper (don't laugh -- they've come up with full-body attire for the beach). Do you feel that Christians should not acquire wealth? If so, what constitutes "wealth"?

I've always understood that you can do all things "in remembrance" of God, whether it be picking weeds out of the garden or singing in a church choir.

- James

Cathy said...

Stay tuned.... I'll get to some specifics in later posts.

Christy said...

"We've been wearing the costume and speaking the language of the world for so long that we don't even recognize ourselves anymore".


This quote has a lot of punch to it. It's true. We as Christians can't even recognize the world for the world anymore, because it sticks to us, and instead of cleaning up the muck, we refuse to look at it, until it becomes such a regular part of life that we don't even see how dirty it is. I'm looking forward to your posts on this subject.

Shushan said...

IMO The main way to discern between the too worldly and 'ok' elements in our lives is to envision sharing it with Jesus.

I could see playing Zelda with Jesus, for example, its not theologically perfect, but its not basically bad. I could not see sharing say - Futurama so it goes bye bye.

As we practice the presence of God in our lives, we eventually come to the moment when we realize this is a real issue. Christ IS sharing each of our thoughts, entertainments, and fashions with us. If we are not focused on making choices that will please or Father in Heaven & Divine Beloved, we are going to distance ourselves from those who love us most. Just as we stay away from tv choices that could be upsetting to our spouses or children, we should avoid those that we know will make God want to leave the room.

Its important to understand that we really DO share each moment of our lives with Christ. We can't let the world compete for heartspace with Him!