Lately at church and in Sunday school we’ve been studying a challenging series called, “Not A Fan,” which urges moving beyond being a fan of Jesus to becoming a true follower.
Recently a familiar verse was read in my Sunday school class.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 NIV
Often when I run across that verse, I pay attention to the part about orphans and widows. Lately I’ve meditated on the last section that speaks about the importance of not being stained by the world.
The New Century Version of the Bible spells it out this way:
keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence.
Some days I’ve worried and even become obsessed that I’m not doing that. A number of years ago when I was a stay-at-home mom and my children attended Christian school, I avoided being around people who weren’t Christians. I saw this as a way to keep myself from being contaminated by the world’s evil influence.
The problem with that approach was that by isolating myself, I wasn’t able to share Jesus with people who didn’t know Him. Also, it caused me to become judgmental of nonChristians. At times I even saw them as enemies because they might try to drag me away from my relationship with God.
I’ve learned since then that instead of avoiding being around the unsaved, it’s better to first spend plenty of quality time with God and godly people. Then I can still love and care about people who don’t yet know God without being sucked into the world’s ways.
I’m realizing that the enticement to live like the world comes from within not from the outside. The battle still rages on inside me, but God is helping me to make progress as I draw near to Him.
Another challenging verse is 1 John 2:15
Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. AMP
Some days I do feel I love things that are in the world, especially those that can be eaten. But God has been showing me that it’s fine to enjoy things such as food or nice clothes as long as I don’t put them above Him or in place of Him—as long as they don’t cause me to sin. I admit with food that there was I time when I did just that. I praise God for the freedom I’ve experienced in that area.
Another verse that helps me understand what my relationship to the world is to be is 1 John 5:21.
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. NIV
I like this verse in the Amplified Bible because it shows clearly what God expects of me as His little child:
Little children keep yourselves from idols (false gods)—[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]…
So how do I succeed at keeping myself unspotted from the world? Once again I look to the Word for the answer. The Bible tells us that grace is the key.
For the grace of God …teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-12 NIV
How about you? Do you find it hard to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions? Embrace God’s grace by spending plenty of time in the Word and in prayer. He is delighted to help you overcome your battles in this area.
To hear more about Freedom from Worldliness tune in to Hearts Set Free with Elaine @ www.wtis1110.com on Saturday, November 19 at 10:30am. In the Tampa Bay area you can tune in on the radio at WTIS 1110 AM.