In C. S. Lewis’ brilliant address “The Weight of Glory,” he talks about our “desire for our own far-off country.” Then he asks, “Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.”
On March 1, I preached a sermon on 1 John 2:15–17 at Bethlehem College & Seminary’s chapel about breaking “the evil enchantment of worldliness.” Preachers used to address worldliness more often. I searched Charles Spurgeon’s published sermons and discovered that he used the word worldliness over 350 times.
The following phrase diagram (which I prepared using our school’s website www.Biblearc.com) displays how I think John argues in 1 John 2:15–17:
The question I find most challenging about that passage is this: How should we apply this passage to how we live today? Or put another way: What are specific ways we are tempted to love the world?
In my chapel sermon I asked some diagnostic questions to consider under nine different categories. Here’s what I asked under the category “Finding Your Identity”:
Do you love the world when you think about who you are? Do you find your identity in what other people think about you or how great you are or what you have or what you have accomplished? Do you find your identity in being an outstanding student or a model Christian or a powerful preacher or a critical thinker? When you realize what the world prizes—being brilliant or rich or beautiful or skilled or witty—do you try to get it, or if you have it, do you take pride in that and prominently display it?
Asking diagnostic questions about whether you are worldly is worth doing because it can help us fight worldliness. As one preacher wisely exhorted, “We must fight worldliness because it dulls our affections for Christ and distracts our attention from Christ. Worldliness is so serious because Christ is so glorious.”
Assistant Professor of New Testament and Theology
- Pray that God would wake us–our students, staff, and faculty–from the evil enchantment of worldliness. Pray that God would give us grace not to take pleasure in the world but instead to take pleasure in God and God alone.
- Pray for Dr. Jason DeRouchie and his team as they serve in Ethiopia (March 16-27).
- Pray for determination and focus for our students as they move into midterms and look towards Spring Break.
- Pray that God would continue to meet our needs financially.
- Pray for upcoming graduates as they seek the Lord’s will in their next steps.