When I first became a born-again believer almost fifteen years ago, I heard the Lord tell me very plainly to sell my secular CDs- I had about seventy- to a local pawn shop. He told me that in order for me to grow in and with Him I needed to be willing to let go of, and walk away from, the things of this world. And this indeed bears witness to a lot of what is said in scripture. Not every CD I had was like AC/DC or the typical ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’, but Almighty God knows everything, every lyric, every intention behind the lyrics and what effect listening to worldly music of any kind will have on my relationship with Him, my transformation into being Christ-like and my witness in word and deed on those around me. After all, the fruit of salvation is a changed life! That’s the power of the Gospel.
When Paul is writing to his young disciple Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12), he instructs him by the power of the Holy Spirit to “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in purity.” Is the apostle speaking only to young people when he starts this paragraph with words about his youth? No. Sound, inspired, Biblical doctrine is good for everyone. The book of James in chapter one and verse twenty-seven reveals to us that “religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is…to keep oneself unstained from the world.” How can we live out these aforementioned mandates if we don’t separate ourselves from the influence of the world around us as much as possible? 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns out of experience, “Do not be deceived: bad company ruins good morals (character).” And since we have not yet become perfected, or completed, in our sanctification process, how much more should we heed this instruction?!
The rock upon whom Jesus Christ built His church and to whom God Himself revealed his Master’s true identity as the promised Messiah encourages and challenges us to be holy in all our conduct as He who called us (God) is holy. The Almighty Himself gives us this command and we are to be obedient as His children, and in order to show our love to and for Him. As my pastor reminds us, “Our goal is not simply Heaven, but to be Christ-like.” How true! We cannot be holy if we are letting the world set our personal standards and we cannot live a life worthy of a saved Christian if the world observes and sees in us one of its own. We are in the world, but not of it” (John 17:14). Watch the Christian DVD, “The Time Changer.”
Back to the book of James. The great disciple and one of my personal favorites writes to the believers back then and us today by saying, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers (and sisters), for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” And verses that often convict me but keep me in check, are Romans 2:21-24. They say, “You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?” (pray to them, trust them, wear them around your neck, have them sitting on the shelves in your homes) “You who boast in the Law dishonor God by breaking the Law. For it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” Does it really matter? Yes! Is it so wrong to be like the world around us? Yes! The world as it is stands condemned and the wrath of God awaits them. If they die in their sins without forgiveness, that is the result.
For guys who find themselves surrounded at work by other guys who just like to laugh and kid around, take a hard look at Ephesians 5:4. It reads, “Let there be NO filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Separate yourselves as much as possible. Walk away subtly. Do not yoke yourselves together with those who don’t share the same values or worldview. We are not better than them; we were once like them. Don’t allow your flesh to be resurrected; it died in your baptism with Christ. Oh, and girls (along with a few guys I know), check out ALL these verses:
Leviticus 19:16, Proverbs 11:13, Proverbs 20:19, Proverbs 26:20-22, Jeremiah
6:28, Jeremiah 9:4, Psalm 41:7, Proverbs 25:23, Romans 1:28-32, 2 Corinthians
12:20, 1 Timothy 3:9-11 (wives especially), 1 Timothy 5:13-14, 2 Timothy 3:1-5,
and Titus 2:2-3.
So, again, you ask “Is it so wrong” (to be like the world)? Yes. Yes. Yes! Don’t let yourselves be deceived. Don’t begin a habit that will be much more difficult to break later. Ask the Lord for self-control, grace and wisdom believing that you will receive. Remember, the whole approach and idea is to bring others into the kingdom of light, not to be drawn down by the world into the pit.