What Does The Bible Say About Living in the World? A Bible Study on Worldliness

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

We are all one of two different kinds of people. We are either living for self and our own desires in the world, or we are dying to self and the frailty of our flesh with the power of the Spirit through Jesus Christ. The Bible is loaded with many scriptures and sections talking about living in the world. While we all live in the world, Jesus calls us to be different than the world. Let’s take a look at some truth in the Word about living in the world.

What Does Worldliness Look Like?

1 John 2:16-17 says, “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Worldliness is simply putting your attention on yourself and the desires of the flesh that you crave. Sexual temptation is rampant and it is easy for someone who is weak to want those desires fulfilled. If putting another “notch on your belt” makes you feel like a man, you are living for the world.

How about material possessions? Is the vehicle you drive practical for your family? Are you single with no kids but drive a Hummer or SUV with 3rd row seating? What I’m saying is that if getting into that Hummer makes you feel good about yourself, you may be living for yourself. Now I could be wrong. If you were intentional with the purchase of the Hummer to help drive people to and from school, church, work or other places than that is awesome! But if you just want to look cool then you are living for your own desires.

And the list goes on…

A Bible Study on Worldliness

The Believer’s Responsibility

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

If you believe in Christ than you know that living for Jesus is a journey. You don’t become perfect overnight or ever. You will stumble along the way, but the emphasis is on putting forth effort to transform your mind by thinking differently. When you were living for yourself, you did lots of selfish things. Jesus calls us to be unselfish and to help others. In fact, “He said to him (a Pharisee lawyer) you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39) You see, you have to die to your own desires in order to stop being of the world. You have to show love to those around you and help them instead of helping yourself. The more you put to death your own desires of the flesh, the more you will also start living to help out others and show them love.

You Can’t Be Both People

Here’s the thing: you can’t be of the world and a believer at the same time. As a believer you will still have things of the world of course, but they won’t be your goals. Meaning, you won’t be saying to yourself “I must have that new Camaro” or “A huge house would make me happy”. It is not things that give us eternal happiness. Only true joy in Jesus can give you happiness. A test for you would be to ask yourself “do I always want more?” “Is last years’ model not good enough anymore?” Do you have to have the newest version of everything? If you do then you are living for the world. If your treasure is in your possessions or career status then you are living in the world. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither Moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)


Remember the song “Cat’s In The Cradle”? The message of that song is powerful! The dad ignored his son growing up because he was only focused on himself. He missed out on one of the best joys in life, being a daddy. When the father is older he wants to spend time with his son, but his son turned out to be just like his father and pursued his own desires and ignored his dad. Which treasure are you building up? Are you building eternal treasure in Heaven or earthly treasure for your own desires here on earth? A time will come when you will die and all of those earthly possessions will mean absolutely nothing. If you have never accepted Christ I encourage you to do it right now! There is not a better time than right now! If you already believe, may God bless you as you continue to live a life worthy of the calling!

Something else that might interest you: Should Christians Have Non Christian Friends?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Christian August 29, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Fantastic article, it really hit me.


Peggy May 13, 2019 at 9:51 am

Thank you and God bless you for this lesson, you have an awesome gift. Your teaching of this lesson was just the clarification I needed. It has opened my eyes to living a life for Jesus and not for my desires. God Bless


Bostang Palaguna June 17, 2019 at 2:30 am

Thank you so much for the verse. God bless us.

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6


maryjane November 27, 2019 at 5:04 am

My husband and I disagree about going out to dinner with friends who like to have a glass of wine with their meal, we do not take alcohol, also to any venue that has a band for dancing, I am not speaking of hard core rock type…he tells me I am of the world..We are born again, pray daily and give weekly..He also feels any person that watches sport is also of the world? Please can you help me to be clear about this.


Jack Wellman November 27, 2019 at 9:36 am

I see no sin in what you are doing…king David drank wine but he also danced when the Ark was returned to Israel, so your husband is becoming too much of a Pharisee. He is becoming judge and jury in his view of others and things of the world. My wife and I like college basketball but also slow dancing. Perhaps he should read the Book of Galatians, but he is taking all the fun out of life. Paul told Timothy to drink a bit of wine for his stomach, etc. Please see if your husband would seek counsel with your pastor over this and see that he himself is sinning by judging others as sinning by what they are doing, but not sinning by what they are doing.


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