Most of us are vaguely familiar with the verse in 1 John 2:15—“Do not love the world or anything in the world”—but we’re often unsure how to obey this command. Confused, and perhaps a little uncomfortable, we may ignore it altogether, sweeping it under the rug (along with other similarly difficult passages in God’s inspired Word).
But the authors of a new book, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, want to remind us of the vital importance of this verse (and indeed all of Scripture), and help us understand how to apply this command to our hearts, our bank accounts, ipod playlists, dvd collections, and clothes—in short, every corner of our lives.
In the first chapter, Dad (editor and contributor), identifies with the confusion many Christians feel about this topic of worldliness:
“What does it mean for a Christian — what does it mean for me — not to love the world?
Does it mean I can’t watch MTV or go to an R-rated movie? Do I have to give up my favorite TV show? Is it OK to watch a movie as long as I fast-forward the sex scene? How much violence or language is too much?
Are certain styles of music more worldly than others? Is the rap or indie music I’m loading onto my iPod OK?
How do I know if I’m spending too much time playing games or watching YouTube clips online?
Can a Christian try to make lots of money, own a second home, drive a nice car, enjoy the luxuries of modern life?
Am I worldly if I read fashion magazines and wear trendy clothes? Do I have to be out of style in order to be godly? How short is too short? How low is too low?
How do I know if I’m guilty of the sin of worldliness?”
Worldliness seeks to address these and other tough questions. Along the way, they issue “a passionate plea to a generation for whom the dangers of worldliness are perhaps more perilous than for any that has gone before.”
This book is a sober warning to all of us who would neglect 1 John 2:15. Yet the authors (pastors, all) have first applied its truth to their own hearts and lives. They offer real-life, unflattering examples of their own sins and temptations to worldliness. Most of all, they remind us of the one place where worldliness dies, mercy lives, forgiveness is found, and holiness is possible: the cross of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I hope all our readers, and especially young people, will read and benefit from this book.