What does ‘being worldly’ mean?

Posted: April 1, 2008 in Theology and Doctrine
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the church that I grew up in, being worldly meant women wearing makeup or jewelry and men having certain hairstyles that were ‘hip’ back in the day. The bible says:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)

So what exactly does ‘being worldly’ mean? We hear it in church all the time. This is the best definition that I have seen which I found in my Bible Dictionary

Being ‘worldly’ can be defined as partaking in the values, desires, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviour that characterize unredeemed human cultures. The worldly person is one who is squeezed into the mold of the ‘kosmos’ i.e. the world system or the world’s way of thinking, in contrast to one whose whole world view has been transformed by God (Rom 12:2). Worldliness is not necessarily a matter of participating in questionable activities or adopting certain styles of dress or appearance, as some christians in every generation have supposed. It is rather the acceptance of the values and assumptions of a society that has no place for God

I thought I would share this information with you as some of you may be feeling guilty unnecessarily (as I once did).

  1. Molzahn says:

    I think the term ‘materialistic’ would more concisely define ‘worldly’.

  2. Alan Higgins says:

    But you can be worldly without being materialistic

  3. Alan Higgins says:

    Well you can have people who are not materialistic per se but still have ‘the world system or the world’s way of thinking’

  4. John Bonilla says:

    the world is a system that occupies you for God’s disire or instrest and it could possess you and harden your heart towrds God weather its good or bad

  5. John Bonilla says:


  6. John Bonilla says:

    that what i belive the world could even be more damaging then sin because it can draw you away from God

  7. Jewel says:

    I don’t think I necessarily agree, I think that being worldly is a very good thing. It means that you are more accepting to different people of different religions and values. I don’t think the world is as bad as you make it seem to be, maybe I’m just being naive. I think it’s all in how you TRY and perceive the world. I think that accepting different cultures and religions allows you to learn more about your own and allows you to make more . . . meaningful decisions throughout your life, whatever they may be. I think it is the opposite of materialistic. You give up your need for material possessions for things that only the mind and individual can create.

  8. Alan Higgins says:

    James 4:4
    You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

  9. Joannie Roberts says:

    alan higgins u da bomb 😉 just had to letcha kno

  10. Kristin says:

    This helps alot, thank you.

  11. Ebenezer says:

    If you are un worldly, then God must have worked you out , so go into the worldly and work them out of the world.It is your duty as a christian.

  12. darell says:

    i am curious to know what these things mean

  13. Rick says:

    So how do we change from being Worldly?

  14. Kevin says:

    if you get your values out of seeking attention and people”s approval, that is worldliness and there is no materialism in that. So the answer is YES, you can be worldly without being materialistic.

  15. Kevin says:

    How do we change from being wordly ? First step is to go within and find out what we live for, what we value the most. IF i value my looks and my body the most, then “my emotional treasure” is in that and not in GOD. So I go to church seeking praise and compliments….in other words i am worldly but of course, i dont want anyone else to find out, cause then they will discover my hypocrisy. The answer is to humble myself before GOD and receive christ freely and get to know him and fall in love with J.

  16. jonahzsong says:

    Reblogged this on jonahzsong and commented:
    This morning, while awaiting repairs on my wife’s car, I’m looking at “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmityi with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of G-d” (James 4:4). I then found Real Christianity and found this definition helpful.

  17. sonofGod says:

    Nothing but laodiceans,and nicolaitans on this site commenting and denying the truth that they say they want.Who do not pray and have absolutely no spiritual relationship with Lord Jesus messiah.It is evident in all wishy washy comments.

  18. sammy says:

    a good example of been worldly is this: the world says it is ok to be gay, homosexual, lesby… and it’s totally against what the bible says. The bible admonishes men to marry woman and even at that tells us to be in a spiritual relationship or in fellowship with God, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s