Are You Friends with the World? | September 20th, 2023
A quick scroll through social media and it’s easy to see so many who are seeking friendship with the world. Photos plastered of the nightlife scene, self-indulgent luxury vacations, videos posted of arms and voices raised in worship of favorite rock stars and sports teams, and the excessive flaunting of achievement and success.
I must say, it is becoming more and more difficult to see a difference in those who call themselves followers of Christ and those who want nothing to do with Him. Worldly interests are the main focus in our society for living and achieving “well-deserved” happiness. Worldliness is a passion, desire, and love for the things of the world. But the Bible speaks of it as a serious sin.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17
This does not mean we are to be unloving or cut ourselves off from the people of the world, retreating into a quiet, hermit-like lifestyle. Instead, we are to love others and share the incredible hope we have in Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the grave three days later so we could have eternal life. But a passion for the world’s values which are in complete opposition to God is sin and a deadly danger.
Enmity Against God
James knew about the danger and wrote a word of warning after observing unrestrained worldliness in those who called themselves believers:
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4
Those are strong words! He is telling them that being a friend of the world is being unfaithful to God. The meaning of enmity is to be actively opposed or hostile toward someone or something. When a person turns their heart away from God and falls in love with the world they are committing infidelity, choosing enmity with God. You cannot love the world and God at the same time. It’s not possible. When you love the world, it pushes out your love for God just as when you love God, it pushes out your love for the world.
The mind of one who is not in Christ is set on the things of the flesh – our tendencies and impulses to sin. Their thoughts are focused on seeking their own desires, not the will of God. They do not have the help of the Holy Spirit to be convicted of their sin, live for God, or serve Him.
The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Romans 8:7
The Danger of Friendship with the World
Whenever we find ourselves with a greater desire for the acceptance and approval of the world than the enjoyment and satisfaction that comes from pleasing God, there is clear proof that the desire of our heart is friendship with the world.
The word “friendship” comes from the Greek philia. It is affectionate love – the kind of love that strong friends feel toward each other, having an emotional attachment. Friendship with the world, then, is having strong affection for or emotional attachment to it.
This can easily happen when we try to conform to the world’s beliefs, philosophies, values, and pleasures and associate closely with others who do. The more we saturate ourselves in worldliness, the more we will find it inevitably leads to compromising God’s standards and jeopardizing our witness.
Many who profess to be followers of Christ celebrate the evil, sinful behavior right along with the world without a second thought. They attend concerts, singing the lyrics with everyone else that blatantly contradict God’s truths. They go to movies and watch rampant sexual immorality with no conviction. They don’t even hear God’s holy name being mocked and defiled over and over.
They have no problem allowing their children to view their devices alone in their own room, reprogramming their precious, moldable minds to accept the views of the world that are hostile to God. They allow them to play violent, demonic video games or be connected to social media for hours, getting addicted to the rapid rush of dopamine that rewards their brain continuously. It’s not surprising these kids soon find going to church or youth group to learn about God and His Word too boring. A once held biblical world view is quickly replaced with a friendship with the world.
It’s a dangerous place to be when you are controlled by the desires of the flesh which lead to sin because sin leads to death.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:14-15
Be Separate from the World
The goal of the world is never to glorify God. It is to glorify self. This is completely antagonistic to God’s Word which says we are to die to self. We cannot give a little of ourselves to Him when its convenient and then pour the majority of our time into achieving temporary, earthly rewards for our own glory. God asks for complete surrender to Him so we can experience the lasting love, joy, and satisfaction found only in Him.
There is no better place to see the deep desire to glorify self than on social media. Some of the most popular hashtags people are using right now are rampant with “self.” Here are a few that are trending for 2023: #selfindulgance #selfcare #selflove #selfempowerment #loveyourselffirst
This should not be surprising as we were warned in God’s Word of this happening more and more in the last days…
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:1-2
Representing Christ is a privilege as well as a great responsibility. We reflect Him with our actions. As believers, God has called us to be separate from the world by having different values. They are the values that reflect His attributes and the truths found in His Word.
Know that if you are a true believer, people are watching you. They want to see that you are different from the world. Other than being discerning about the places you choose to go, the close friends you keep, and the activities in which you are involved, another way you can keep yourself living holy before the Lord and separate from the world is by paying close attention to what you are promoting and posting on social media. Do your likes, comments, and posts represent Christ or do they promote friendship with the world? Do they line up with the truths found in His Word or do they oppose His principles for living a godly life? Be so careful! You represent Him.
If you’re beginning to think that being a true follower of Christ does not sound easy, you’re exactly right. It’s very wearisome to have the world continually mock you for following God’s standards for living a life of purity and holiness. Yet, that’s what we are commanded to do.
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
When we are scoffed at for being separate from the world and not participating in those things that the world considers fun and pleasurable because of our love for Christ and desire to please Him, it’s such a small price to pay when compared to the price Jesus paid for us, giving His life on the cross and taking the penalty for our sin so we could be with Him for all eternity.
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:18-19
This world is passing away along with all of its sinful lusts and passions. It is only what we do for Christ that will last. Our inheritance as believers is not here on earth so it does no good to strive for anything the world offers. That will all be burned up in the end. We are promised to be richly rewarded in our eternal Home in heaven for all we do to serve Him.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
If you have been living your life saturated in worldliness and striving for its temporary pleasures, repent and ask God to give you the desire to serve Him with your whole heart so He can take His rightful place in your life. It is through a loving, intimate friendship with Him alone, not the world, that you will experience true satisfaction and joy.
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