Several years ago there was a song popular on Christian radio entitled “In Not Of.” I laughed when I heard one DJ describe its title “in desperate need of a direct object!”
The song, direct object or no, described the fine line we who belong to Christ walk in terms of our relationship with worldly influences. We are called to be in the world: shopping, working, coaching soccer. At the same time, we are warned by the Bible to “not love the world nor anything in the world.” (1 John 2:15) How do we do this? How do we engage the world we live in without living just like the world? Is there anything wrong with living just like the world? How do we influence for the cause of Christ and not be influenced by those in opposition to Him? Answering these questions and more is the aim of Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, edited by CJ Mahaney. From the publisher’s product description:
This resource uncovers the presence of worldliness and helps believers learn to relate to the world while resisting its influence in their lives.
People today are saturated in technology and prosperity. They are bombarded with endless luxuries: clothes to wear, cars to buy, vacations to take, entertainment to enjoy. Yet this world, which offers so many pleasures, is actively opposed to God and the truth of His Word. How, then, is the believer to relate to the world in which he or she lives?
Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World uncovers the presence of worldliness—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has or does. Worldliness then reveals how Christians are to engage a fallen world and boldly preach the gospel, yet not be conformed and ultimately seduced by the system of this world.
As readers learn to identify the presence of worldliness in the areas of media, modesty, music, and material possessions, they can begin to resist its influence in their lives and instead pursue eternal godliness.
Personally, I found this book to be both convicting and challenging, particularly as I read the chapter entitled “God and My Stuff.” How often I find my security and identity in my stuff! And lest you think this book is merely a list of “do’s and don’ts” the final chapter examines what it means to love the world: to enjoy, engage and evangelize.
Some may read Worldliness and feel as if the authors are too strict in their definition and practice of godliness. Others may feel they are too lenient. Either way, this book offers much to contemplate in terms what it means to live “in not of” the world.
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….
You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads:
Hope this helps.
Carrie, Reading to Know says
This book is certainly tempting looking! Thanks for reviewing it. I was curious for your thoughts on it and would love to pick it up!