There is no greater danger to the Church than the spirit of the world. It has become the Church’s most dangerous lover as modern day Christianity has embraced it more than it embraces Christ. It has infiltrated into Christianity on almost every level and corrupted its witness for Jesus Christ. The spirit of the world has permeated into the pulpit, into doctrine, into church boards, into mega-churches, into small churches, into Christian publishing, into Christian television broadcasting, into Christian music and into Christian hearts. The world has become so mixed into the church that it is hard to tell the difference. Tragically the church has become a model of the world system instead of a model of Christ. It reflects the image of the world instead of the image of Christ and this has had a profound effect on the hearts of Christians around the world. Both Jesus Christ and the apostles warned of the powerful influence the spirit of the world can have on the human heart. The spirit of the world and its seductive lustful trappings took out the heart of Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived. His heart was turned against God in such a way by the spirit of the world that it astounds the mind. Demas, a trusted leader with the apostle Paul, was so in love with the spirit of the world that he deserted Paul and the Church: II Timothy 4:10a (ESV)-For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me. Don’t be fooled that you are immune from the spirit of the world. It is highly dangerous. It is highly alluring. It is highly destructive. It is highly deceptive. We cannot play with it and not get burned. The spirit of the world is very sly and cunning of heart. It wants your love. It wants your devotion. It wants your time. It wants your passion. It wants your heart. It looks glamorous to the eyes. Most lust after its beauty and allow its seductive look to capture the heart. She perfumes her bed with the greatest of spices and says “Come let us take our fill of love until morning. Let us delight ourselves with love!”
Maintaining a love affair with the world is akin to having a spiritual mistress. Modern day Christianity has its own spiritual mistress having fallen head over heels in love with the world. This love of the world has crept into thousands and thousands of churches and into the hearts of millions of Christians. This spiritual love affair with the world will erode your relationship with God, cause your love for God to wax cold, cause rebellion and disobedience to God and His word to seize the heart, and allow sin to be the master ruler of our lives. Yet Christianity continues to pant and chase after the world with reckless abandon. The spirit of the world is a powerful and cunning seductress that few seem to be able to discern and from even fewer seem able to disengage themselves. She flatters with her lips, she appeals to our lusts of our fleshly nature, and she glamorizes and dazzles our eyes, deceiving us to partake of her enticements.
It is like taking the following wedding vow, “I ___________, take you my Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ to be my lawfully wedded husband, my Lord, my Master, my Savior and my love. I promise to remain faithful to you on Sundays only and once in a while during the week if trouble arises. I refuse to forsake all other lovers, choosing rather to cling to them, to adore them, to treasure them and meet with them throughout the week.”
Ah the World! So mesmerizing, so tantalizing, so attractive and so addicting. Who can resist it? Oh we love the world and all its trappings! A little of the world is good for the soul? Or is it?
The book of James pulls no punches about the spirit of the world.
James 4:4 (Phillips): You are like unfaithful wives, flirting with the glamour of this world, and never realizing that to be the world’s lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who deliberately chooses to love the world is thereby making himself God’s enemy.
What a sobering truth in the Word of God. If we are the world’s lover, we become an enemy of God and an enemy to His purposes, plans and will. This is a very strong statement in Scripture that we cannot flirt with the glamor of the world and expect to keep our relationship with God pure, intimate and vibrantly alive. We cannot be a lover of God and a lover of the world. We are unfaithful to our God if we engage in the ruinous relationship of being a lover and friend of the world. Abraham, the father of all those who believe, is described as a friend of God. “To be “a friend or lover of the world” is to value the approval of and cherish a relationship with persons and forces which are either indifferent toward or openly hostile to God. We choose our lovers and modern Christianity has deliberately chosen to love the world and become God’s enemy.
The friendship of the world is the love of that world; of the maxims which govern it, the principles which reign there, the ends that are sought, the amusements and gratifications which characterize it as distinguished from the church of God. It consists in setting our hearts on those things; in conforming to them in making them the object of our pursuit with the same spirit with which they are sought by those who make no pretensions to religion. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary).
I looked for the church and I found it in the world; I looked for the world and I found it in the church.–Horatius Bonar
The spirit of the world originates from the kingdom of darkness and is orchestrated by the devil with the purpose of opposing God and everything in His righteous kingdom. This is where the true battle of Christianity lies.
Ephesians 6:12 (Amplified): For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against the master spirits who are the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
Phillips: For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil.
According to Colossians 1:13, God has delivered us from the exercised power of darkness and given us citizenship in His kingdom by the glorious redemptive work of His beloved Son. Yet so many Christians and churches walk right back into the kingdom of darkness not wanting to fully renounce their former citizenship in this world.
Tozer: Men think of the world, not as a battleground but as a playground. We are not here to fight, we are to frolic. We are not in a foreign land, we are at home. We are not getting ready to live, we are already living., and the best we can do is rid ourselves of our inhibitions and live this life to the full.
I Corinthians 2:12 (ESV): Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
We can never understand and know anything about God and our wonderful inheritance in Christ through the spirit of the world. We have the spirit of God and do not need the spirit of the world.
John 14:17 (ESV): Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
We have the spirit of truth that dwells in us and it enables us to live holy and righteously in the world.
Matthew Henry: The heart of man is narrow and cannot contain both loves. The world draws down the heart from God and so the more the love of the world prevails the more the love of God dwindles and decays…The Spirit of God in true Christians is opposed to the spirit of the world.
Eric Ludy: Our enemy Satan, must not be allowed to set up a command post or a communication center within our soul. He must not be allowed to influence our thinking by propaganda against the Christ-filled life. Anything that hinders us in building our life completely around Christ and following Him into battle must be ruthlessly removed. We must not allow anything into our life that feeds our weak point. A soldier does not dance through a minefield any more than we should play with a live hand grenade…Temptation is like nuclear radiation-it is not meant to be fought but is to be avoided at all costs.
Ephesians outlines our former association with the spirit and ways of the world and God’s miraculous deliverance and salvation from it.
Ephesians 2:1-7 (NIV):
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
The spirit of the world causes disobedience and rebellion against God. It always caters to the cravings of our flesh and its unholy desires and passions.
What exactly does the Bible mean when it says “the world?” What is this spirit of the world?
The Greek word for “world” is kosmos and in this verse means: the satanic system of world order with its seductive evil system of values, priorities, and beliefs that excludes and actively opposes God. This world system is set up to subtly attract one’s affection, participation, and loyalty away from the true God and His goodness. It is interesting that the word kosmos also has the meaning of an ornament, decoration, or dress, as at its root is the word meaning “to polish, to cut or to carve into a perfect arrangement.” The devil’s world system of evil is very ornate and polished and looks so perfect to the human eye. Its polished presentation can be mesmerizing. This is part of the subtle attraction that deceives people and pulls them into its snare. But if you peel away the layers, this system is dark, empty, evil and totally devoid of the goodness of God. Wuest, in his Word Studies of the Greek New Testament, defines kosmos as follows:
The word kosmos is used to refer to the world system, wicked and alienated from God, yet cultured, educated, powerful, outwardly moral at times, the system of which Satan is the head, the fallen angels and the demons are his servants, and all mankind other than the saved, are his subjects. This includes those people, pursuits, pleasures, purposes, and places where God is not wanted…Much in this world system is religious, cultured, refined, and intellectual. But is anti-God and anti-Christ.
Steve Gallagher, in Intoxicated with Babylon says: “The world (kosmos) is used primarily to describe the corporate consciousness of the people of this world who are in rebellion against God’s authority. Kosmos is what binds together the unbelieving world. It is global mentality that remains a powerful unspoken force in the lives of mankind. It molds vastly different people groups into one entity which lives out its existence on earth under the dominion of Satan, unified against God.”
Vincent notes that the ethical meaning of kosmos refers to…
The sum-total of human life in the ordered world, considered apart from, alienated from, and hostile to God, and of the earthly things which seduce from God (Jn 7:7; 15:18; 17:9, 14; 1Cor. 1:20, 21; 2Cor. 7:10; Jas 4:4).
Bishop Trench defines the ethical kosmos as…
All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitutes a most real and effective power, being the moral, or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale.
Kosmos defines the world not as a neutral influence but as an “evil force”, the inveterate, incorrigible, intractable, intransigent, irrevocable enemy of God and of every believer. This begs the question “Why would any believer ever desire to befriend or be friends with such a ‘ferocious’ foe?”
Kosmos includes the ungodly (unsaved) multitude, the whole mass of men alienated from God and hostile to Him and His Son Jesus Christ. This meaning describes the system of values, priorities, and beliefs that unbelievers hold that excludes God. (E.g., Just mention the name “Jesus” in a positive sense in a secular setting! You can “feel” the hackles rising up on the back of their necks!)
Gallagher: The “world” is Satan’s unified system which lies outside the Kingdom of God.Like a cancer, the spirit of the world quietly, steadily and methodically attacks one cell at a time, infiltrating our churches, our families and our lives and our largely supplanting God’s value system with a new hybrid.
I John 5:19 (NIV): We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
Mounce: We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
The WHOLE world, not just part of it, lies helplessly in control of and under the power of the evil one.
This world system of evil continually attempts to squeeze people into its mold of godlessness so they will live and act in accordance with it. When people are either consciously or unconsciously are controlled by the values and attitudes of this world system, they behave according. Without Christ and the deliverance in the new birth, the entire world lies helplessly subject to this system and its arrangement of evil. The devil has the authority, dominion, command, and power of this world system over the entire earth.
The Germans have a word for kosmos (world of men who are living alienated and apart from God) the zeitgeist or spirit of the age. This masquerade costume which saints sometimes put on, hides the Lord Jesus living in the heart of the Christian, and is an opaque covering through which the Holy Spirit cannot radiate the beauty of the Lord Jesus.
II Corinthians 4:4 (Phillips): The spirit of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, and prevents the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, the image of God, from shining on them.
KJV: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
The devil is the god of this world and his spirit of this world blinds people to the glorious Gospel of Christ. It is the spirit that promotes unbelief around the world.
Steve Gallagher: One of the primary problems as American Christians is that we allow the mores (the established customs and habitual practices) of our society to influence our lives more than God, To state it another way, our lives have been shaped more by popular American culture than by God’s Word…I do not think most believers realize the extent to which American culture has molded their viewpoints and personal opinions.
Gallagher from Intoxicated with Babylon: “Most American Christians are already television and internet addicts. Is the spirit of the world behind this addictive quality? Is kosmos the drug? Whether or not you honest enough to say yes, one thing is certain about television: It has permeated the entire population with the spirit and message of the kosmos…What kind of message is it implanting in the hearts of believers? Saints will watch hundreds of hour of illicit sex, violent behavior, greed, crime and life without God. Born again believers will immerse their minds in these depictions under the guise of “needing a break.” Can we really be so naïve as to think their Christian faith, conduct, and testimony are uninjured in the process? Television desensitizes its viewers to the wrongness of sin and stifles the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit. Television is the enemy’s turf and the great broadcast station of the Prince of the Power of the Air. The message of television is you can have a fulfilling life without God. It causes believers to be spiritually passive and apathetic. It literally saps people of their spiritual desires. Nothing will deaden a person’s spiritual appetite like the spirit of kosmos. Who knows the extent of damage done to the Body of Christ through the influence of television?”
I Corinthians 7:23: God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.
Verses 31-32a (Message): Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out. I want you to live as free of complications as possible.
Voice: If you make use of this rebellious and broken world, live as if you have no use for it—because the form of this world is fading away. My primary desire is for you to be free from the worries that plague humanity.
God paid the highest price for your redemption. We must go into this rebellious and broken world as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ with great love and compassion. We must not allow its spirit to penetrate our hearts and harden them, hindering God’s magnificent purpose for our lives.
Galatians 6:14 (NIV): May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
We don’t embrace the spirit of the world, we crucify it. We are to boast in the cross of Christ not the things of the world. We are to be crucified to the world and the world crucified to us.
This world is not my home, I am just passing through. We are in the world, but not of the world.
I Peter 2:11 (NLT): Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (Phillips): So you are no longer outsiders or aliens, but fellow-citizens with every other Christian—you belong now to the household of God. Firmly beneath you in the foundation, God’s messengers and prophets, the actual foundation-stone being Jesus Christ himself. In him each separate piece of building, properly fitting into its neighbour, grows together into a temple consecrated to God. You are all part of this building in which God himself lives by his spirit.
Philippians 3:20, 21 (Phillips): But we are citizens of Heaven; our outlook goes beyond this world to the hopeful expectation of the saviour who will come from Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will re-make these wretched bodies of ours to resemble his own glorious body, by that power of his which makes him the master of everything that is.
Verse 20: (Voice): But we are citizens of heaven, exiles on earth waiting eagerly for a Liberator, our Lord Jesus the Anointed, to come.
Verse 20a (ESV): But our citizenship is in heaven,
We are exiles, temporary residents, foreigners and sojourners in this world. Our true home, our citizenship is in heaven. So we look for our true Liberator to come and set up his kingdom and do not allow the worldly desires of this foreign land to capture our hearts.
John 17:17-19 (NIV): I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
John 18:36 (NIV): Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
Jesus Christ was not of the world. His kingdom had nothing to do with the systems of the world. As Christians we have mission in this world to bring people His word which has the power to sanctify us from the systems of this world. The world hates our mission; the world hates Christ. The first characteristic of the world is that it hates Jesus Christ. If you align yourself with Jesus Christ you become an enemy of the state and the hated in the world. We do not belong to the world. The world loves and worships its own.
John 15:18,19 (NIV): “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
I John 3:13 (KJV): Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
Jesus Christ was tempted by the Devil with all the kingdoms, power, glory and things of the world. They would all be his if he would just bow down and worship Satan.
Luke 4:5-8 (Voice): Then the devil gave Jesus a vision. It was as if He traveled around the world in an instant and saw all the kingdoms of the world at once. Devil: 6 All these kingdoms, all their glory, I’ll give to You. They’re mine to give because this whole world has been handed over to me. 7 If You just worship me, then everything You see will all be Yours. All Yours! Jesus: 8 [Get out of My face, Satan!] The Hebrew Scriptures say, “Worship and serve the Eternal One your God—only Him—and nobody else.”
The whole world and its kingdom and glory has been handed over to the Devil by Adam in an act of high treason in the Garden of Eden. The Devil said “ALL WILL BE YOURS!” “Just worship me! Just adore me! Just love me!” Jesus rejected it all for the kingdom of His Father is so much greater. We should respond in the same way when faced with the things of this world and say “Get out of my face Satan! I will only worship God and nobody else!”
The world never has had a claim; never has had power and never has had anything in common with Jesus Christ. Why should the world have a claim on our lives?
John 14:30 (Phillips): I shall not be able to talk much longer to you for the spirit that rules this world is coming very close. He has no hold over me.
Amplified: I will not talk with you much more, for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me. [He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.]
Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world. This is God’s absolute will that we be delivered from every chain of bondage of this world.
Galatians 1:4 (KJV): Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.
Gallagher: By and large American believers have become extremely passive. Rather than aggressively tearing down the strongholds of the enemy and waging a war for the souls of our loved ones, we have allowed the enemy to lull us to sleep and exploit us at will. Instead of affecting the world around us for the cause of Christ, we continue to permit this world’s system to influence us. Consequently we are unfit for war; we have become spiritually disarmed, fat, and lazy. Paul said: Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. II Timothy 2:3,4
I John gives some invaluable wisdom to never give our hearts to this world or any of the things in it. We cannot love the world and the Father at the same time. We also see the three great lures of the world
I John 2:15-17a (Phillips): Never give your hearts to this world or to any of the things in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. For the whole world-system, based as it is on men’s primitive desires, their greedy ambitions and the glamour of all that they think splendid, is not derived from the Father at all, but from the world itself. The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear…
KJV: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 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. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
Gallagher: The spirit of the world thrives wherever man or woman pursues “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.” The world has a thousand charms to lure the believer away from a vibrant, genuine love relationship with God. Every human being has within his fallen nature numerous lusts which the spirit of the world targets. A person’s urge to possess or experience “the things of the world” can be so powerful that his desire for them chokes out his desire for truth…The more a believer indulges in the lusts of the world, the more corrupted he will become inside. His love for God, which once might have burned intensely, will dissipate eventually into a mere outward façade of religious activity. He may glibly say, “I love the Lord with all my heart,” yet devote his time and energy to the attractions of this present world, putting God into a secondary and minor place in his life. The spirit of the world takes direct aim at such a “believer.”
These carnal appetites, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the lust of pride are branches of sin. The spirit of the world fuels and feed the sin nature. True Christianity refuses to be blemished, spotted or corrupted by the spirit of the world.
James 1:27 (NIV): 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.
Amplified: And to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.
Polluted (aspilos from a = without + spílos = spot) means without blemish or defect (outward condition) and figuratively in a moral sense, pure (inward character). Aspilos used to describe Jesus, “unblemished and spotless” Lamb of God. Peter in the context of teaching about the destruction of the earth and all its works (will be burned up – 2 Peter 3:10, 11, 12, 13) writes, based on this sobering, solemn truth…
Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless (aspilos) and blameless (2Peter 3:14).
Scripture is very straightforward about the need for consecrated living. However, the majority of Christians can’t face the thought of living without all their worldly attractions convincing themselves that living with a MIXTURE is acceptable to the Lord. Now at this crucial hour, God’s people have corporately approved of a powerless form of religion that tolerates an impotent blend of Christianity and heathenism. “They worshipped the Lord,” the Bible says of idolatrous Israel, “but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations.” No wonder the Lord exclaimed, “I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.”
I Kings 18:21 (NIV): Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.
“Therefore, come out (aorist imperative = Command which conveys a sense of urgency. Do this now!) from their midst and be separate (aorist imperative again – Do it effectively!),” says the Lord. “And do not touch (present imperative = Command to either stop doing this or don’t begin doing this) what is unclean; and I (Jehovah) will welcome you. (2Cor 6:17)
Guzik reminds us…
From the book of Genesis, Lot is an example of a man who was spotted by the world. He started living towards Sodom, disregarding the spiritual climate of the area because of the prosperity of the area. Eventually he moved to the wicked city and became a part of the city’s leadership ( A little of Sodom “moved into” Lot! Many today are a lot like Lot!). Luke 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife. Lot’s wife heart also was still in the world. She loved Sodom and Gomorrah. She delayed leaving and had a hard time tearing herself from the spirit of the world when the time of separation came. She had a lingering love glance at the world. Her true lover, and she caused her own destruction.
Two theological students were walking along a street in the Whitechapel district of London, a section where old and used clothing is sold. What a fitting illustration all this makes!” said one of the students as he pointed to a suit of clothes hanging on a rack by a window. A sign on it read: SLIGHTLY SOILED—GREATLY REDUCED IN PRICE. “That’s it exactly,” he continued. “We get soiled by gazing at a vulgar picture, reading a course book, or allowing ourselves a little indulgence in dishonest or lustful thoughts; and so when the time comes for our character to be appraised, we are greatly reduced in value. Our purity, our strength is gone. We are just part and parcel of the general, shopworn stock of the world.”
The ONLY way to not be conformed to the world’s pattern is by the renewing of the mind to the Word of God.
Romans 12:1, 2 (NIV): Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
GNB: Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.
GOD’S WILL IS TRANSFORMATION NOT CONFORMATION
The pressure to confirm to the world’s mentality is enormous. The seductive power of the world is very strong and appealing to our flesh.
NLT: Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world. This is a COMMAND from God Almighty!
Do not be conformed combines a negative particle (Greek = me) with the present imperative which conveys the sense of “Stop doing this!” implying that they were already allowing themselves to be poured into the mold of the godless world
Conformed (suschematizo from sun/syn = together with + schema = external form, appearance) means to form according to a pattern or mold, to fashion alike, to conform to the same pattern outwardly. The meaning is to form or mold one’s behavior in accordance with a particular pattern or set of standards. The preposition “sun” in this compound verb denotes a personal assimilation to or conformity with the pattern indicated.
The set of standards is the kosmos of the age. The kosmos will mold your heart if you let it by a failure to renew the mind. Your speech, your thoughts, your actions, your goals, your passions and your will reflect the pattern or mold of the kosmos. The world gets into us and corrupts our witness for Christ because Jesus Christ has not even one part, sliver and speck of the kosmos in Him.
The term “conformed” literally means to be molded or stamped according to a pattern. The Phillips translation reads: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.” The contours of the world’s mold flow along the lines of: (1) fortune-money and materialism, (2) fame-popularity and acceptance, (3) power-influence and control, and (4) pleasure-sensual desires.
We must not be shaped by these influences. We must fight against the tide of sin, self, and Satan. Babylon is a picture of life in kosmos outside of God. It is a life dominated by self-will, self-sufficiency and self-indulgence. It is also a life that can be very intoxicating and almost irresistible, even for the believer. Daniel’s life is an example to every believer. He lived in Babylon without being tainted by its spirit or seduced by its glamour.
“Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34. In secular literature, this word “dissipation” describes the lingering aftereffects of a night out on the town. The man has a hangover; he is sickly, worn out and depleted. In the context of a person’s spiritual life, dissipation refers to the dullness of heart and spiritual barrenness that results from a life full of worldly activities. He has become intoxicated with the world, he has a hangover from drinking its libations and flirting with its fleshly lover. We must guard or precious heart that it be not crushed by the weight and influence of the kosmos. A pure heart is uncontaminated by the spirit of the kosmos.
To be transformed describes a change on the outside that comes from the inside (an “inside job” so to speak). Paul is calling for an outward change in the character and conduct of the believer, which is to correspond with his or her inward spiritual condition. The word ”transformed” is in the passive tense which means God is the one who does the transforming..
II Peter 1:3, 4 (ESV): According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Standing firmly on the promises of Word, studying, meditating, confessing, memorizing, believing, trusting and obeying them give us the power to escape the corruption in the world through lust. All the corruption, all the evil of the world is fueled by lust. The lusts of the flesh are the foundation of the world system and its energy source is sin. Sin is the fuel source of the entire world system of ungodliness.
I John 5:4-6 (ESV): For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Only the person born of God, born again in Christ, can overcome the world. Our victory over the world lies in our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection. Faith is our shield against the fiery darts of the wicked one that the kosmos hurls at us daily. The natural person without God is totally helpless and enslaved to the kosmos. Victory is an impossibility without Christ.
I John 4:4 (ESV): Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Phillips: You, my children, who belong to God have already defeated this spirit, because the one who lives in you is far stronger than the anti-Christ in the world.
The spirit of God in us in far greater than the spirit of the kosmos. Christ in us the hope of glory is far more powerful, far bigger, and far more influential than the exercised power of darkness in the world. The spirit of the kosmos is always anti-Christ as it stands against everything about Christ and the message of the gospel. The spirit of the kosmos has been defeated in Christ but we must claim and stand on His victory watching and guarding our hearts from this enemy.
John 16:33 (NIV): “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
As children of God we need to do a thorough house cleaning literally! We need to go through our homes and search out everything that the devil can use to keep us locked into the mindset of the world. Go through closets, drawers, magazine racks, and music and video cabinets and ask yourself if Jesus is displeased with anything in them. Every article that quenches the Spirit in our homes must be removed if our homes are to become a sanctuary from kosmos. Make your home a place where every resident can calm himself after a day full of stress, rest with his family in true fellowship and cleanse himself form the day defilements. Pray over your home and declare it a NO SATAN ZONE! A NO KOSMOS ZONE! We must make sure our homes are a spiritual refuge away from the influences of the world’s relentless pressure. Too many believers are so immersed in the kosmos that they cannot fathom life separated from it.
Titus 2:12 (NIV): For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
My dear Christian, we have come to the point in history, where the battle lines are clearly delineated. Neutrality is not an option. Those who dwell in the earth must decide who will be their master. What spirit will they serve? The spirit of the kosmos or the spirit of God? What spirit will guide their actions, consume their thoughts, mold their behavior and fill their hearts? Who will be their best friend, their trusted advisor, their life’s passion and their spiritual polestar? The world or God? The lusts of the flesh or the fruit of the spirit? Is Jesus Christ being smothered from blossoming into full maturity in your life by the spirit of the kosmos? Which one motivates you; which one drives your daily activities; which one gets you up in the morning; which one is your God?
1 John 4: 17: Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
By Tim Rowe
Goodness of God Ministries