Is It Wrong to be Worldly?
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 1 John 2:9
“When I was growing up,” writes blogger Karen Keegan, “the adults in my life defined worldly as doing anything that looked like you might fit into or embrace the culture around you.” For Karen, this included wearing certain clothes, hairstyles, going to the movies or bowling, and of course, dancing!
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul corrects this superficial definition of worldliness in two ways. First, he said that finding common cultural grounds was of great value in presenting the gospel message. Secondly, Paul pointed out that what was troublingly worldly about the Corinthian Christians, was “jealousy and quarreling” among themselves. “Aren’t you living like people of the world?” he asked (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
Following Jesus demands an all-in desire to please to God and no one else. That doesn’t mean that all human things are “worldly.” We are delivered from the bondage to worldly behaviors of jealously and quarreling, for example, when we submit to Christ. “For he has rescued us,” says Colossians, “from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…” (Colossians 1:13).
Worldliness has almost nothing to do with looking one particular way. When our emphasis is misplaced, it makes for an anemic representation of the body of Christ on earth. Let’s work to get rid of sinful habits that are truly destructive and anti-gospel, like jealousy among ourselves. We can forget about hairstyles.
Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23