Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will~ Romans 12:2 NIV
I recently I wrote a post detailing five indicators you might be a believer who loves the world a little too much (1st John 2:15). I defined “loving the world” as taking our cues about how to live, love and function in this life from the world’s system rather than from the Bible (Romans 12:2).
Loving the world is spiritually dangerous because it clouds our spiritual judgment and makes it nearly impossible to see life, people, and the circumstances we encounter from God’s perspective. Loving the world causes us to think like the world and adopt the characteristics of the world. When that happens we lose our ability to be the life-giving spiritual force our world urgently needs.
The only way to effectively combat a worldly mindset is to work aggressively to break the world’s hold on our thinking. Changing our behavior begins with a change in our mindset. Knowing the Bible is key. the Bible gives us valuable insight into how God’s sees issues. However, simply reading the Bible regularly will not necessarily make anyone any less worldly. We also have to alter our behavior to bring it more in line with a biblical worldview.
Making these five adjustments to our thinking and behavior will make a difference…
Learning to practice generosity rather than consumption- Acts 4:32-35, Acts 2:42-47, 1st Peter 4:9, Hebrews 13:2
The world system teaches us to maintain emotional distance from people and use resources such as our time, possessions, energy and money for our own benefit and pleasure. The New Testament urges Christians live life with an open heart and to give with an open-hand. Until we learn to freely give of our resources and our time we will remain forever stuck in a worldly mindset.
Breaking the hold of worldly entertainment- Psalm 119:37, Job 31:1
The entertainment industry wants more than anything to change the way we think about the world. It has been wildly effective at accomplishing that agenda. The abolitionist movement in America succeeded in ending slavery partly because leaders of the movement used powerful novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Twelve Years a Slave to change the way the average person thought about slavery. Hollywood does the same thing with equal success for far less noble causes. Television shows with storylines about divorce, single motherhood and homosexuality preceded widespread acceptance of those practices in our culture. Next time you watch a television show, try and figure out what sin the producers are attempting to normalize. Then turn off the T.V. and go read a good book or hangout with your friends or family.
Living out a biblical standard of sexuality- 1st Thessalonians 4:1-8
Sexual immorality is a sin that is in a class all its own, mainly because it’s exceptionally damaging to all parties involved. Anytime we commit sexual sin, we sin against God, other people and we pollute our own bodies (1st Corinthians 6:18) all at the same time. Sexual immorality is placed at the top of a list of sins that God states will keep a person from inheriting kingdom (1st Corinthians 6:9-10). For those reasons (and a dozen others) Christians need to stop searching for loopholes in the rules. God cannot be tricked (Galatians 6:7). Sex before marriage is still sex before marriage. Viewing pornography is sex and emotional affairs inevitably lead to sex outside of marriage. Our lack of obedience in this one area has caused the church to lose all moral authority in the culture. We will only get it back through a commitment to repentance, purity and doing life God’s way.
Callously rooting out sin in our own lives- John 5:14, 1st Corinthians 15:34
Sin is a pernicious thing. It creeps into our lives, oftentimes without our awareness or consent. The only way to combat sin’s encroachment into our lives is by asking God daily to reveal the sins we do not see in ourselves and then repenting (turning away from) the sin we do recognize in our selves.
Praying about everything- Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2
Nothing is too big or too small to talk to God about. Without the discipline of prayer we inevitably lose connection with God and unwittingly open ourselves up to the influence of the world. Prayer safeguards us against worldly thinking by reminding us that we are not wise enough to do life without God.
Rooting out worldly thinking and behavior in our lives is not an optional exercise or an elective spiritual discipline—it’s a matter of spiritual life and death.