December 14, 2017

Is It Worldly? Check the Expiration Date (3)

Thomas Overmiller

This is part three of three. Part OnePart Two

In Part One, Thomas said:

      • We need to avoid using the term ‘worldly’ as mere jargon, but have a good grasp of the concept according to the Bible.
      • The first aspect of worldliness we need to understand, based on 1 Jn 2.15-17, is that of ungoverned appetites, that is, the lusts of the flesh.

And in Part Two:

  • The second aspect of worldliness is that of unreal thinking – the corrupted imaginations that come from the lust of the flesh.
  • The last aspect of worldliness to consider is unworthy pursuits – the focus on temporal attainments that puff self rather than eternal victories that glorify God, that is, the pride of life.
Check the Expiration Date

The idea of worldliness is far more profound than a list of flagrant, ungodly activities. According to 1 John 2:15, it is a love for things associated with this present world system. It is more than a quiet inner affection. It drives the choices that a believer makes during his lifetime. These choices involve feeding distorted appetites, entertaining baseless imaginations, and pursuing unworthy goals. A lifestyle of this nature commits a fundamental error.clip_image001

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:17).

Every time you shop for a gallon of milk, you consider two very important things. First, you determine whether or not the price is reasonable. If it is overpriced, you will probably buy your milk at a different store (or pick an off-brand). Second, you consider the expiration date printed on the carton. You won’t buy the milk if the date is passed. Equally so, you probably won’t buy the milk if the date is soon to expire. You want a date that is distant enough to guarantee that no milk will be wasted.

If every believer exercised the same savvy in their lifestyle choices as they do in their selection of milk, worldliness would be a diminished disease in the church today. Both the world and the things associated with it are limited by an expiration date and are in the process of decay. For this reason, the world offers nothing of eternal value. Any goal, pleasure, or program that is rooted in this world will end, like spoiled milk, with no lasting benefits. The fundamental error of a worldly lifestyle is the neglect of eternal concerns.

Thankfully there is an alternative to worldliness. That alternative is loving God (1 John 2:15). If you are performing the desires of God, you will keep on doing that into eternity (1 John 2:17). The solution to worldliness is to embrace eternal causes and concerns in this life, not waiting until this life has ended. As you make your decisions, learn to check the expiration date. This applies to time management, media selection, approaches to worship, and any other forum that worldliness affects.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2).


Thomas Overmiller serves as a Bible professor at Baptist College of Ministry in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.


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