Torn Between God and the World

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4:4 NLT

Worldliness is being in love with the things of this life instead of maintaining a child-like trust and tender affection for our blessed Savior. The spirit of the world is embodied in the love of money, a hunger for unbridled sex, and a thirst for power. A worldly attitude is an arrogance that takes pride in our accomplishments, status, or rank over and above the majesty and glory of God (1 John 2:15-17).

Worldliness is any passion, craving, or hunger for the pleasures of sin while simultaneously desiring to receive the approval of others for our poor choices. Worldliness uses and misuses people for personal satisfaction, political influence, and fleshly pleasure. Worldliness is an organized scheme of humankind that uses our flesh (i.e., sin nature) to draw us away from an intimate relationship with God. Worldliness is a heart attitude intrinsic to being born in Adam and living in a fallen world.

The solution to breaking the world’s all-pervasive grip on our lives is the Cross of Christ (Gal. 6:14). Satisfaction in Christ’s love and mercy fulfills our hearts keeping us from being attracted to the world. We realize the utter emptiness of the world’s promises as we experience the depths of God’s grace. The Cross breaks the world’s hold on us: we live for Christ committed to the kingdom of God hungering to be like him.

We and the world have parted company. Each has been ‘crucified’ to the other. ‘The world’ is the society of unbelievers. Previously we were desperately anxious to be in favour with the world. But now that we have seen ourselves as sinners and Christ crucified as our sin-bearer, we do not care what the world thinks or says of us or does to us. ‘The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”

John Stott, The Message of Galatians

Woe to those weak and timid souls who are divided between God and their world! They want and they do not want. They are torn by desire and remorse at the same time . . . They have a horror of evil and a shame of good. They have the pains of virtue without tasting its sweet consolations. O’ how wretched they are.

François Fénelon

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