It’s Cause, Curse and Cure
It’s not easy to be a distinctively Christian family in the twenty-first century – but has it ever been? There are always vital issues affecting our families that make it difficult for us to maintain our distinctiveness for the Lord in an ungodly, sinful environment. One of the most destructive influences in our day is the effect of worldliness.
We live in a beautiful world that God created for our pleasure. But the “world” we’re referring to in this article is the satanic system that operates and rules within our natural world. Ephesians 6:12 speaks of it this way: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” And 2 Corinthians 4:4 says this about it: “The God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.”
Christian families are in this world to have a dynamic, godly influence on those around them. But, instead, the world is having a greater impact on Christian families. Too many look, act, think and talk just like the world, and thus have little or no influence for God upon the world. We dare not forget that this world is ethically bad, morally corrupt, and spiritually bankrupt. We do not need the world, but the world needs us!
First John 2:15-17 tells us not to love the world or the things that are characteristic of the world. The passage goes so far as to say that those who love the world are void of the love of God. In other words, the basic cause of worldliness is loving the world more than we love God.
As we evaluate our home and family life, would we say there is more evidence of our love for God or the world? The TV programs we watch, the videos we buy or rent, the books and magazines we read, the places we go, the pleasures we enjoy, the type of clothing we wear, the music we listen to, the way we treat each other, the things we talk about, are all making a bold statement about what we love. Do they say we are a family that loves God or a family that loves the world?
What makes worldliness so destructive is that the world wants to make us like it is. Romans 12:2 says we should not be “conformed to this world.” The world desires to squeeze us into its mold so that we become like it. The world is very smart. It knows that if it can make us like itself, it has destroyed our distinctiveness and testimony as Christians. Once that happens, we lose our effectiveness for God.
If we become like the world, we have nothing to offer the world. It’s that simple. In Deuteronomy 7, God gives three specific prohibitions to His people, Israel, as they prepare to enter the promised land: do not worship their gods (7:5); do not intermarry with them (7:3); do not adopt their lifestyle (7:6). God did this because they were His special people who belonged exclusively to Him: “Thou art a holy people unto the LORD … the LORD God hath chosen you to be a special people unto Himself” (7:6). If they surrendered their distinctiveness they would be ineffective for God. First Peter 2:9-12 says the same thing to those who have been saved out of this world by God’s grace. Is our family impacting this world for Christ, or is the world impacting our family for the enemy?
If worldliness is having a damaging effect on Christian families, God’s Word tells us how we can reverse this and develop our effectiveness for the Lord: by the power of a transformed life (Rom. 12:1-2); by understanding God’s will for our family (Gal. 1:4); by refusing to be affected by the world (Jas. 1:27); by living totally dependent upon God (1 Jn. 5:4). Our faith enables us to overcome the world instead of being overcome by the world.
Our only hope as Christian families is to be so totally yielded to God that the world can find no place to begin its destructive work in our personal lives, our marriages, or our families.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org