Just occasionally (not often enough?) I become almost guiltily aware of the sometimes vast gap that exists between me and other Christians in other parts of the world in respect to the good things I receive from God on a daily basis (so much more than ‘just’ my ‘daily bread’). But does this mean I am wrong to enjoy what God gives? This second brief post on the theme of worldliness comes from J.I. Packer.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 ESV
J.I.Packer writes: “…we see what the nature of worldliness is, and avoid the mistake of equating it with the use and enjoyment of created things, as such. Worldliness means yielding to the spirit that animates fallen mankind, the spirit of self-seeking and self-indulgence without regard for God.
“Whether a man is worldly thus depends, not on how much enjoyment he takes from the good and pleasant things of this life, but on the spirit in which he takes it. If he allows these things to enslave him (1Corinthians 6:12) and become a god – that is, an idol – in his heart (Colossians 3:5) he is worldly.
“If, on the other hand, he is disciplined in his use of them, not indulging to the detriment of his own or others’ edification (1 Corinthians 10:23-33; 8:8-13) nor losing his heart to them, but receiving them gratefully as God’s gifts and a means for showing forth his praise, thanking God for all pleasant occupations and all delightful experiences, and not letting the merely good elbow out the best, he is not worldly, but godly.
“Again, it is not worldly to be praised; but it is worldly to live for men’s compliments and applause, and to find one’s highest happiness in the thought that one has gratified men, rather than in the knowledge that one has done God’s will.
“Worldliness is the spirit which substitutes some earthly ideal, such as pleasure, or gain, or popularity, for life’s true goal, which is in all things to praise and to please God.”
From J. I. Packer in God’s Words