We all know that being worldly minded is opposite to being spiritually minded, right? Worldly aspirations appeal to our bodies and minds but war against our spirit, creating all kinds of woes and troubles. We’re warned:
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:15-16)
That’s plainly spoken. When we’re consumed by the things we crave, the things we feast our eyes on, and our self-centered pride, we lose the love of God. Talk about a bad trade!
When we think about this world as our home, and start conforming to a comfortable lifestyle, we might accomplish our will but miss out on finding the will of God. (Romans 12:1-2) God’s Word tells us that being friends with the world is like taking on an adulterous lover; it makes us enemies with the lover of our soul, God. (James 4:4). We like to be recognized by the world, but we’re called to be set apart for the gospel of God. (Romans 1:1) To be in the world but not of the world.
But let’s face it, worldly things appeal strongly to us. And the truth is, we don’t mind being worldly, or at least a little worldly. We live in the world so it just seems natural that we’d long after the things in it. And it’s not wrong to have and enjoy nice things…unless it consumes us and our excessiveness robs from those in need, when it becomes an “adulterer” that robs us of Our love for God.
It’s a bit of a sticky-wicket when we try to assess our worldly behaviors. Lean too far in one direction and we excuse all our self-indulgent behavior. Lean too far to the other side and we believe that minimalism is somehow “more holy.” It’s easy to fall into a legalistic trap.
I suppose we’re all pretty good at putting on blinders that keep us from seeing our own excesses and faults. I know how easy it is for me to excuse my own worldliness. But I was recently challenged again about this. For example, when Paul says to the Corinthian church, “I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly,” the Spanish translation uses the word, “inmaduros” to describe worldly, meaning immature. (1 Corinthians 3:1)
What if we dared to think about our attitudes, behaviors, and ambitions not as “worldly” but “immature?” I might try to excuse being a little worldly, but I don’t want to be called out as being immature! How about you?
The truth is, it’s hard to not be worldly when our focus is fixed on making a living, pursuing adventurous goals, or just surviving. Something that helps us decrease our worldly focus is to set our intentions on being more “Wordly.” When we feed our soul with the Word of God, we find peace and contentment and joy. Helen Lemmel’s 1922 hymn still speaks truth:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
Worldly and Wordly are at opposite ends of the teeter-totter. The more we focus on applying the Word of God in our life, the more we’re lifted up. The more we focus on loving the things of the world we’re weighted down. If you’re looking for a better life balance, spend more time in God’s Word and discover how being “Wordly” improves your life focus!