Worldliness is a spirit, an atmosphere, an influence
Published 8:34 am Tuesday, January 10, 2023
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: My grandmother is constantly talking about worldliness and I’m convinced she doesn’t think anyone should have fun; yet she is a wonderful grandmother who has invested a lot in me and those in her neighborhood. She says worldliness is made up of the pleasures of the world. I’m not sure this is relevant anymore. — S.R.
Dear S.R.: Worldliness is a term not used much anymore, but nevertheless is misunderstood. While certain elements of daily life are not sinful in themselves, many of them can lead to sin if abused. Abuse literally means “overuse” or “misuse” of things lawful, which then become sin.
Worldliness is not confined to any particular rank, walk, or circumstance of life. But worldliness is a spirit, an atmosphere, an influence, permeating the whole of life in human society, and it needs to be guarded against constantly and strenuously. The Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15, KJV). It also warns that the world will pass away, but the person who does the will of God abides forever (see 1 John 2:17).
Our daily occupation, reading, dress, friendships, and other similar elements of life are all legitimate and necessary — but can easily become illegitimate, harmful, and unnecessary. Making money is necessary for daily living, but it’s apt to degenerate into loving money itself, and then the deceitfulness of riches enters in and spoils our spiritual lives.
Taking a stand for Christ does not mean that in society we are snobs or have a superiority complex, lest we be in danger of spiritual pride (which would be far worse than worldliness). But today there are so many professing Christians who are walking hand in hand with the world, making it difficult to tell the difference between the Christian and the person of the world. Our lives must make it plain whom we serve!
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)