The Bible defines worldliness by centering morality where we intuitively know it should be. Worldliness is the lust of the
flesh (a passion for sensual satisfaction), the lust of the eyes (an inordinate desire for the finer things of life), and the
pride of life (self-satisfaction in who we are, what we have, and what we have done).
Worldliness, then, is a preoccupation with ease and affluence. It elevates creature comfort to the point of
idolatry; large salaries and comfortable life-styles become necessities of life.
Worldliness is reading magazines about people who live hedonistic lives and spend too much money on
themselves and wanting to be like them. But more importantly, worldliness is simply pride and selfishness in disguises. It's
being resentful when someone snubs us or patronizes us or shows off. It means smarting under every slight, challenging every
word spoken against us, cringing when another is preferred before us. Worldliness is harboring grudges, nursing grievance, and
wallowing in self-pity. These are the ways in which we are most like the world.
Dave Roper, The Strength of a Man, quoted in Family Survival in the American
Jungle, Steve Farrar, 1991, Multnomah Press,
"If I had a brother who had been murdered, what would you think of me if I ...daily consorted with the assassin who drove the
dagger into my brother's heart; surely I too must be an accomplice in the crime. Sin murdered Christ; will you be a
friend to it? Sin pierced the heart of the Incarnate God; can you love it?"
Addressing a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders, George Gallup said, "We find there is very little difference in ethical
behavior between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously...The levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are
remarkable similar in both groups. Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves Christians, Gallup said, yet only about half
of them could identify the person who gave the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still could recall five of the Ten Commandments.
Only two in ten said they would be willing to suffer for their faith.
Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, p. 76.
The course of rebellion against God may be very gradual, but it increases in rapidity as you
progress in it; and if you begin to run down the hill, the ever-increasing impetus will send you down
faster and faster to destruction. You Christians ought to watch against the beginning of worldly conformity. I do believe that
the growth of worldliness is like strife, which is as the letting out of water. Once you begin, there is no knowing where you will
stop. I sometimes get this question put to me, concerning certain worldly amusements, "May I do so-and-so?" I am very
sorry whenever anyone asks me that question, because it shows that there is something wrong, or it would not be raised at all.
If a person's conscience lets him say, "Well, I can go to A," he will very soon go on to B, C, D, E, and through all the letters
of the alphabet. . .When Satan cannot catch us with a big sin, he will try a little one. It does not matter to him as long as he
catches his fish, what bait he uses. Beware of the beginning of evil, for many, who bade fair to go right, have turned aside and
perished amongst the dark mountains in the wide field of sin.
The world's smiles are more dangerous that its frowns.
Some years ago, musicians noted that errand boys in a certain part of London all whistled out of tune as they went about their
work. It was talked about and someone suggested that it was because the bells of Westminster were slightly out of tune.
Something had gone wrong with the chimes and they were discordant. The boys did not know there was anything wrong with
the peals, and quite unconsciously they had copied their pitch.
So we tend to copy the people with whom we associate; we borrow thoughts from the books we read and the programs to which we
listen, almost without knowing it. God has given us His Word which is the absolute pitch of life and living. If we learn to
sing by it, we shall easily detect the false in all of the music of the world.
Donald Grey Barnhouse.