Worldliness is a matter of the heart

“We are not to be isolated but insulated,” said Vance Havner, “moving in the midst of evil but untouched by it.” Separation is contact with contamination. Jesus was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26), yet He was “a fr … More


John gets to the heart of the doctrine of separation in this passage. Worldliness is not so much a matter of activity as it is of attitude. It is possible for a Christian to stay away from questionable places and activities and still love the world because worldliness is a matter of the heart. Worldliness is anything in a Christian’s life that causes him to lose his enjoyment of the Father’s love and his desire to do the Father’s will. All these things are passing away and none has any permanency. The man of the world is doomed to disappointment; the man of God is certain of lasting joy.

John points out that the world system uses three devices to trap Christians: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (v. 16). The word “flesh” seems to be clearly used here as the old sinful nature which every person is born with. A Christian has both the old nature (flesh) and the new nature (Spirit) in his life and a great battle takes place between these two (Galatians 5:17-23).  He is to make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14),

The second device the world uses to trap the Christian is “the lust of the eyes.” The eyes are a gateway into the mind. A Christians needs to guard very carefully what goes through his eyes (Psalm 199:37). We certainly need to apply this to what we watch on television. The third device is “the pride of life.” The world is characterized by a boastfulness about its possessions. This is why so many people buy houses, cars and wardrobes that they cannot afford and get themselves hopelessly in debt. It is largely because they want to impress other people, because of their “pride of life.” Such an attitude should not be present in the child of God.


I need to ask myself; in what areas has my family been tempted to conform to the world system through these three devices listed above? What could I do differently to help protect them?

I John 2:15-17 (English Standard Version)

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