Worldliness has to do with those things associated with the world in contrast to those things that have to do with spiritual things. For example, we read in Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and WORLDLY LUSTS, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Ungodliness is that which is against God. Worldly lusts are those things that are for the pleasures of the flesh. The Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:24, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Instead of giving into those things that cater to the flesh, the Lord tells us to deny ourselves and NOT give in to the flesh.

A worldly believer is one who has not denied himself, but is taken up with what the world has and how the world thinks. We read in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” It is only by presenting our lives to the Lord as instruments for His use that we are able to resist being conformed to the world. Rather than being CONFORMED to this world, its lusts, its attractions, its thinking, etc. we are instructed to be TRANSFORMED. We do that by the ‘renewing’ of our minds. We renew our minds by constantly feeding upon the Word of God and allowing it to shape our thoughts and actions.

A person would be considered worldly when he still has a love for the things of the world. 1 John 2:16 tells us, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” The things of the world all have to do with the pleasing of the flesh. We see this illustrated in Eve when she was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (the pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” These things appealed to her, so Eve disobeyed God and partook. We all are familiar with the results of that decision!

You asked how we can we state that a Christian is worldly. I would rather turn that question inward so that we ask ourselves, “Am I worldly?” Self-examination is certainly necessary before we try to determine whether someone else is worldly. Questions like: Do I think like the world? Do I get involved with the pleasures of the world? Is my day spent reading worldly books, watching TV or movies, or going to places where the Lord is unwelcome and unloved? Am I learning from the Word of God each day? Do I have a desire to know more about the Lord and obey His Word? Can I say as Job did in Job 23:12, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”? Do I have a concern for the lost and seek to share the Gospel with them? These are important questions to ask ourselves so that we might get a sense of where we are in our relationship with the Lord…so that we might cease from worldly desires and activities. (278.6)