Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them~ 1st John 2:15 NIV
I grew up tragically ignorant of all things Christian.
Following my conversion to Christianity as a young adult, I did my level best to expand my biblical knowledge base. My quest to gain understanding involved a great deal of reading, studying, church attendance, attending Bible studies, Christian conferences and even formal ministry training.
All that frenzied activity helped in some ways but hurt in others. My overall knowledge of the Bible grew. However, it also led me to believe the Bible said some things it actually didn’t say; for example, at one point I was literally shocked to discover that the phrase “be in the world, but not of it” was not actually a Bible verse but rather a pithy saying that became popular sometime around the turn of the 20th century.
The”worldliness” I was warned about as a new Christian was almost entirely focussed on outward appearances: language, clothing choices and entertainment. I was taught Christians were to “look” different and act different from the world and looking different was all about outward behavior. No one talked about heart attitudes (Matthew 5:8, Matthew 5:28, Matthew 15:18-20). Since those days, the church and the people in it have changed a great deal. There is far less emphasis placed on outward appearances and more of an emphasis placed on the need for Christians to be authentic and love people unconditionally.
This isn’t a bad thing.
Loving people pleases Jesus (Matthew 5:44, Mark 12:30-31, John 3:16), at least until our love devolves into sloppy sentimentalism or a focus on feelings rather than the state of a person’s soul. That kind of love is closer to what the Bible calls “loving the world” rather than truly loving people.
We “love the world” when we take our cues about how to live, love and function from the world’s system rather than from the Bible (Romans 12:2). It’s shockingly easy for Christians to love the world without even knowing it. Following are five ways Christians love the world and leave true faith behind:
We love the world when we hate on the people in the church-
Jesus promised us that the world would hate the church (John 15:19). He did not promise that the church would hate its own members. It almost goes without saying that the church in America has some serious issues and is in need of reform. It’s also true that some Christians have driven people away from the church with hypocrisy, perversely high standards, bad attitudes and expectations that cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. However, that does not make it okay for Christians to hate on other Christians, as some have taken to doing. It’s no wonder unbelievers don’t want to give church a chance when Christians are so critical of those in the church.
We love the world when we refuse to call out sin-
There is no clearer indicator we have become far too comfortable with the world than when we accept the world’s standard of morality. In many Christian circles it is now considered offensive to even hint that behaviors like divorce, drug use, homosexuality (1st Timothy 1:9-11), promiscuity and drunkenness (among others) are sinful. The effect of relaxing our standards has been dramatic. Many believers no longer feel shame, or even regret, over actions the Bible clearly calls shameful and society is devolving into a chaotic muddle due to our lack of moral leadership.
We love the world when we use love as a cover for inaction or silence regarding the dangers of sin-
Our current definition of love has morphed into something early Christians never would have imagined. Love has become a justification for silence, spiritual inertia and the tolerance of every kind of evil behavior. We have forgotten that biblical love speaks the truth and tirelessly promotes righteousness (Ephesians 4:15).
We love the world when we wallow in its behaviors and use “fitting in” as an excuse to continue wallowing-
Contrary to popular belief, the Bible does not call Christians to “fit into” society (Romans 12:2). Christians are told to stand out and be different, at times to the point of peculiarity (1st Peter 2:9). The moment we begin to conform to the world, we cease to be effective at what God has called us to do (Matthew 28:16-20, Matthew 5:13-16)
We love the world when we make our entertainment choices an idol we refuse to let go of-
There was a time in the recent past when most Christians shunned secular entertainment out of fear that it would adversely affect their behavior and attitudes. They feared worldly entertainment would make them too much like “the world”. For the most part, Christians have lost that fear and now the people in the church look more like the people in the world than at any other time in church history. We need to start being real with ourselves about what we’re watching and how it affects our ability to think and reason in a Christian way. If we wouldn’t watch a show or movie with Jesus in the room, it won’t make us any more spiritual or bring us any closer to Jesus and it probably needs to go.
And, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.