The Bible repeats the word “worldly” several times. But what does it mean? Contextually, it refers to the things made by man or those that belong to this world. These include material possessions, money, power, and fame.
The Bible speaks against being worldly in several verses. For instance, in 1 John 2:15, we read, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” In other words, if our focus is on worldly things, then we are not focusing on God.
The Bible also tells us to be careful of being led astray by worldly desires. James 1:14-15 states, “But each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is full-grown, bringeth forth death.” This means that when our sinful desires tempt us, it leads to death. This is because our sinful nature is at odds with God’s holy nature.
What Worldly Things Does God Want Us To Avoid Focusing On?
God only wants what is best for His people. This is why He constantly warns us against being consumed by material objects. Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed.” This verse provides a brief overview of the worldly things God wants us to avoid, which will be discussed in detail below.
1. Sexual Immorality
Sexual immorality pertains to any sexual activity that occurs outside of marriage. These include adultery, premarital sex, bisexuality, homosexuality, bestiality, and pornography. Sexual immorality is a sin because it goes against God’s commandment on sexuality. He instructed that sex should happen between a married man and a woman. So, when you have sex outside of marriage, you are not only sinning against God but also putting yourself at risk of physical and emotional harm, STDs, unplanned pregnancies, and psychological distress.
Impurity refers to all sexual or immoral thoughts, words, and actions. This includes, but is not limited to, lustful thoughts, gossip, slander, and profanity. Impurity is a sin because it goes against God’s desire for His people, which is to be clean in thought, word, and deed. Also, being impure leads to temptation, which can lead to division and broken relationships.
Lust is an inordinate desire for sex, power, money, or anything else that we want to an unhealthy degree. When we allow lust to take control of our lives, we ultimately sin against God. This is because we allow something to precede our relationship with Him. Lust is a dangerous sin because it can easily take control of our lives and lead us down a path of destruction. If you struggle with lust, pray and ask God for help.
4. Evil Desires
Evil desires are the root of all sin. It controls whatever we desire. For this reason, Paul told us to set our minds on things above, not on things of this world (Colossians 3:5). When our desires are centered on God and His righteousness, we will be controlled by His Spirit. But when our desires are focused on the things of this world, we will be governed by Satan. To withstand this, James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Greed is an attitude of always wanting more, even if you already have enough. It is discontentment with what God has given us. This attitude leads to sin, including theft, fraud, and cheating. In Matthew 23:25, Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.” This means that Jesus teaches us to feed those who are hungry and thirsty. We should not be selfish in sharing our blessings, as God will bless us more than we expect. Instead of focusing on worldly things, we must seek to pursue things that bring glory to God, such as spiritual enlightenment and understanding of God’s word.
We should be careful not to be so preoccupied with worldly things that we forget what is truly important: our relationship with God. Some things are just not worth of our time and energy. That’s why it is essential to read and study the Bible regularly. It helps us to keep our priorities straight and to focus on what matters in life. While humans are not perfect, we have the choice to turn away from sin and live a life that is pleasing to God. This way, we can get closer to Him and experience the abundant life He promised us.