There is an insidious sin that can easily creep into our souls while we are unaware – worldliness. It is destructive not only to our own soul but also to those whom we influence.
Luke 4: 5-8 states: “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”
This passage exposes the root of worldliness—Satan himself. It is in his hands. See Satan behind all the glitz and glamour of the world. Would you take this fruit from his hands as Eve did in the garden? The devil is very boring really—same old plots, same old temptations. What did Eve do? She SAW, she thought it PLEASED her; she took it and ate it. This lust of the eyes, this lust of the flesh is not from the Lord; it is from Satan
Genesis 3:6 states: When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Iain Murray writes: “Worldliness is no accident; it is the devil’s use of such idols as pride, selfishness, and pleasure, to maintain his dominion over men. What Satan proposes for man’s happiness is, in truth, the result of implacable malice towards the whole human race. He means to exclude God and to destroy men, and the system he has devised to do this is so subtle.”1
1 John 2:15-16 states: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
You cannot love the world and God. It makes you God’s enemy. This is very serious! Hit at this sinful and destructive root in your soul—put the axe to this root before this root puts the axe to your soul! To be God’s enemy is a very serious estate—He is a consuming fire. Let Him consume you. Take your eyes off the world’s false appeal and see the loveliness of the Lord. It is Satan behind the world’s agenda to suck you in. See the serpent behind this temptation. Have the sober-minded awareness called propriety in 1 Timothy 2:15 (“But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”) and refuse the devil’s poison. We are so careful to avoid lunch meat and soft cheese in pregnancy to keep from exposing our fetus to the potential pathogen called listeria. Yet we will eat the more pathological fruit of worldliness. You fall for the glitz and cross over into Sodom. You cooperate with the enemy of your soul to your destruction and the destruction of your family.
See where Lot’s choice led him. Why did he not choose Abraham’s inheritance as did Ruth—who would not be separated from Naomi. No, she said “Your people will be my people, where you go I will go,” and we see why: it was because “your God will be my God.” (Ruth 1:16 – But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”). Lot didn’t want God. He wanted grass. You have too much stuff? Get rid of the stuff to stick with Abraham. Are you making choices that make worldly sense but take you away from God? What does that show that you value? Ruth came with nothing, attached to nothing, to be with God and His people. She left it all behind. I don’t want my culture, my stuff, my relatives, my anything. She saw the treasure in the field and sold all for that—to be the people of God. What did Lot have in the end?
Genesis 13:11-12; 19:23-30states: “So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom…By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land.Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens.Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord.He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.”
He got his worldliness and destroyed his family. He put them in the center of God’s wrath and the consuming fire came down. Then he did really leave with nothing. What of the world do you need? Don’t you know that the whole universe belongs to God? He has at his disposal all things. What can He not give you? Why does it even have allurement to you? Seek first His kingdom and He can certainly give all else that you need.
Mathew 6:33 states: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Do you trust Him to provide? Are you falling for the lie of Satan as did Eve and Lot? That you have to choose for yourself what is good, that God can’t or won’t provide that for you? Are you better than God? See the essence of the lie that you are falling for!
It is from Satan—”The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.If you worship me, it will all be yours” (Luke 4:5-7). It juxtapositions you against God.
1 John 2:15 states: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
It is accusing Him of lacking power to provide what is good. (Genesis 3:4—”You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.) You are going away from God. You are engendering His wrath and injecting this poison into your family.
Lot chose stuff and in the end lost it all and lost the stuff that separated him from Abraham, lost the land he chose. Lot did not end up with a lot but with nothing. Lot chose his lot and lost it all. He had the opportunity to cast his lot with Abraham, but looked away. He fell for Satan’s allurement. The inheritance of God, of faith, was with Abraham but that was not enough for him. That was not what he valued. He did not live by faith but by sight and in the end we see where his choices led him. He lost everything, hid in a cave, with immoral, godless daughters, and his progeny ended up being the enemies of God—Moabites and Ammonites.
Genesis 19:30-38 states: Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.” That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.”
Do you want to choose against God and engender His wrath? See the infant nursing at your breast. They drink of us literally and figuratively. She is drinking your milk and also of you. What is in you that you are putting into her? We see Lot’s worldliness coming out in his worldly choices and destroying his daughters. As 1 John 2:15 says, he became the enemy of God and gave rise to a people who were the enemies of God. By contrast, what do we see of Ruth’s heart? She valued God. She would choose God, not stuff. Leave it all behind and go with God. God is all I need. God is all I treasure. See who she was called out of? The very wicked people who were God’s enemies, the very progeny of Lot—the Moabites! (Ruth 1:1, 4—”In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab…They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years.”)
If my people are God’s enemies, then I will leave my people. What you value is shown in your choices and where you let your heart lead you is where you lead your family. See the infant sucking at your breast. We are so careful to make sure we do not ingest drugs while breastfeeding that would harm our nursing infant. But are you feeding her the far more harmful drug of worldliness? What you are is manifest in your child as much as anything in your milk.
We see Hezekiah’s heart exposed when the Babylonian envoy came to see him—he displayed all his stuff but not his God, and engendered God’s wrath. He was more into his stuff, ease and comfort than his faith. And what is in us will be more manifest in our children. See what little worldliness of Hezekiah was absolutely rampant in his wicked son Manasseh. Was there any comfort of Hezekiah to have all his stuff yet lose his son? No.
3 John 1:4 states: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
There is no greater joy than to see our children walking in TRUTH. So we must set up straight paths for them to walk in, not make them stumble. (Hebrews 12:13—“Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.) This starts in your heart. You cannot fool God, and what you sow in them will be manifest in them. (Galatians 6:7—Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.) Deal with it before it destroys you and them. See her sucking in your worldliness and the potential to end up as Lot’s wicked daughters—no inheritance in God. I would rather have God and nothing else.
As the Lord spoke to Abraham: I am your shield and very great reward. (Genesis 15:1—After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield and your very great reward.”) Let that be your declaration—He and He is alone is my GREAT reward! And then see what God brought about for Abraham—all the stuff came—the flocks, the land, the servants, and yes, the progeny—the people of God. Same for Ruth—she chose for God and God alone, and what did she end up with? Being in the line of Christ! (Matthew 1:5—Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse) What greater inheritance is there? What progeny did Lot end up with? God’s enemies. Lot’s lot was a lot of trouble. He fell for the glitz and glamour and ended up with no glitz nor glamour: a mere cave, no God, and godless daughters who essentially raped him. The immorality of the city he chose was injected into them and manifested in their life.
What you desire and choose is no small thing! 1 Timothy 2:15 states: “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” A woman of faith has the opportunity to experience a sanctifying effect from this process of bearing and raising children if she continues in the attributes laid out—faith, love, holiness, and propriety. But these attributes will also guide and grace her children. Stay in the realm of this “safety.”
Be a Ruth. Be like Christ. He saw who was behind the glitz of worldliness and refused it. “You can have your worldliness Satan. I will have none of it for I will have none of you. My inheritance, my lot, is in the Lord. He will provide what is good for me. I don’t need your glitz and glamour. You have no appeal for me.”
Luke 4:5-8—The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”
Worship God alone. Don’t fall for world worship, for it is devil worship. It will all pass away.
1 John 2:15-17 states: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
Genesis 2:17; 3:3,6 states: but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die…but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die…When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Hebrews 11:24-27–By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
He refused the glitz—it was at his very fingertips! He ran away from it. He was raised in it but chose the inheritance of God and he was commended for his faith. He would rather suffer with God’s people than have the world’s glamour. It had no glamour for him for he saw the true riches, true beauty of God.
1 Peter 2:2 states:Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.
Let it be sincerity and truth! What is she sucking from you? There is a man who passed on this poison of perversity and worldliness to his offspring. As a man, there could not be the analogy of milk, but he passed it on in another way— Lot, to his daughters—giving rise to the enemies of God. Perversity goes with worldliness. They have the same father, as we see in Luke 4 and 1 John 2. The lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh do NOT come from the Lord. Worldliness will lead you to perversity as it did Lot. And it will manifest in your offspring as it did Lot. This is not your “lot” as the people of God.
Rid yourselves of these things. (1 Peter 2:1—Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.) Rid your “milk” of these things to have “pure spiritual milk.” (1 Peter 2:2—Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.) What do YOU CRAVE? Is it pure spiritual milk? Or is it things of the world? That is what you are instilling in your child. Have pure spiritual milk that you may pass on pure spiritual milk. What are you tasting? There is a greater joy than any worldly offering.
Psalm 4:7—You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.
Psalm 34:8—Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Refuse worldly food, as did Daniel in Babylon. Refuse the world’s glitz and glamour. Do not partake of it and pass it on to your children. Taste and see that the Lord is GOOD and pass on pure spiritual milk to your children. Your progeny are at stake. Your charge is to raise them for the Lord. (Exodus 2:9—Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him.) (Malachi 2:15—Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit…)
Luke 17:2—It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
How is that “better”? In contrast to leading a little one to destruction, being hoisted into the sea with a millstone would merely be the end of me. It would also be the end of my sinful influence!
1 Peter 2:11—Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
We have to see that these sinful desires war not only against you but also against your children.
If there is conviction, there is hope, for we know that the Lord wounds in order to heal. The pain comes before the comfort. Take the pain of conviction and confess unto God. Take His purifying fire.
James 4:7-10 —Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
This humility is the way to change, the way to draw near to God. We look to Him for change. The one we confess to is also the One who is faithful to cleanse us from unrighteousness. And He will lift you up! J. C. Ryle writes, “High in Heaven, at the right hand of God, He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by Him — able to keep us from the evil of the world while we are still living in it — able to give us power to become the sons of God — able to keep us from falling — able to make us more than conquerors. Once more I say, Go directly to Christ with the prayer of faith, and put yourself wholly and unreservedly in His hands. As hard as it may seem to you now to come out from the world and be separate — you shall find that with Jesus nothing is impossible. You, even you, shall overcome the world.”2
We must also be aware that the enemy of our soul would discourage us from changing; he wants to keep his grip on us. But this strongman has been defeated!
Don’t forget what you have seen in this mirror of your soul. First is identification, then confession, and then repentance. But then don’t leave the room of your heart swept clean then empty; the warning is that seven worse demons may come in. Rather fill your heart with seeking and seeing God.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
Seek God and see God.
1. Seek God. You can’t serve two masters. You can’t go in two directions at once. The love of the world opposes the love of God. 1 Jn 2:15. Matthew Henry writes, “Unless this victory over the world is begun in the heart, a man has no root in himself, but will fall away, or at most remain an unfruitful professor.”3 In seeking God, we move away from the world. The word promises that if we seek Him we shall find Him if we seek Him with all our heart. (Jer 29:13)
1. Secondly, see Him. That is true beauty. The glitz of the worlds is false, fading, and disappointing. When we see God, all other competing loves are shown to be worthless. Matthew Henry on 1 Jn 2:15: ” From the whole of these verses we should observe the purity and spirituality of the apostolical doctrine. The animal life must be subjected to the divine; the body with its affections should be swayed by religion, or the victorious love of God.”3
Gaze upon Him, seek Him. Make that holy substitution: as Jesus declared to Satan in this temptation, worship and serve the Lord only. Forsake the false glamour of the world, then see the true beauty of the Lord.
Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
1. Murray, I. H. (2000). Evangelicalism Divided. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust. 2. Ryle, J. C. (1998). The World: A Source of Great Danger to the Soul, Practical Religion. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust. 3. Henry, M. (2003). Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
~Marie-Celine Farver RN, BSN, IBCLC, RLC © 2012