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Avoiding worldliness is not a subject that comes up often in conversations among Christians these days. Whereas our grandparents may have been concerned with protecting themselves against the effects and influences of a secular culture, younger generations of Christians often prefer to talk of engaging, transforming, or relating to this world. The danger, of course, is that in our zeal to influence this world, we instead are assimilated into it. We end up becoming no different from and are therefore useless to the world. As Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness…It is no longer good for anything…” (Matt. 5:13).
The apostle John was deeply concerned about the effects of a fallen world on the lives of Christians he loved, and his concern is no less valid today. In fact, it could be argued that technology has made it even easier for this world to extend its tentacles into every corner of our lives, if we aren’t careful. So, what should you do? Get rid of your smartphone, move to a cabin in the woods, and live “off the grid”? Probably not, for two reasons. First, you are not smart or resourceful enough to do that. Second, how can you be an influence in this world if you withdraw yourself from it? Jesus has sent us his followers into this world to bear witness to him. We are to love the people of this world while resisting the sinful attitudes and values of this world. That’s no easy task, and all the more reason to listen carefully to the apostle John as he gives us three powerful reasons not to love the world in 1 John 2:12-17.