As with any worthwhile worldview, there should be a measure of coherence and internal consistency. For example, there should not be glaring contradictions or a woeful disconnect between what you claim to believe and what you actually do.
It is not just a question of one’s walk matching one’s talk, but of having a worldview – in this case, a Christian worldview – which covers all aspects of life, and has a consistent and uniform approach to things. Biblical Christianity is, among other things, a full-fledged worldview, and it should be one which is cohesive and non-contradictory.
But we see evidence everywhere of this not being the case. We find people who profess the Christian faith who do things and believe things which have nothing to do with Christianity – indeed, which are antithetical to Christianity. There are plenty of obvious examples of this.
For example, a person claims to be a follower of Jesus, yet:
-insists that obedience to his clear commands is an optional extra;
-refuses to agree with God about His purposes for human sexuality;
-votes for political parties which are committed to death and reject the sanctity of human life;
-lives in known and unconfessed sin; etc.
These are fairly obvious examples of a major disconnect between one’s profession of faith, and what one actually does. But there are plenty of somewhat more subtle examples of this radical disconnect in action. One way you can see this in operation is when one deals with social media sites.
For example on one such site I often get friend requests from all sorts of people. My general policy is not to talk to strangers, as I was warned as a child. But more specifically, I must suss out such folks. I have far too many enemies and those who want to sabotage my work.
So I try to do a bit of homework first before accepting just any-old person. There are various clues for example: who are some of their friends? What are some of their likes? What groups do they belong to? What do their posts consist of?
It usually does not take too long to figure out where a person is coming from. And if I am still unsure who this person is, I simply will not accept their friend request. But here I want to speak to just one category of such folks. I refer to those who give the impression that they are keen Christians, but their page actually betrays this.
Often their banner on top or other key identifiers will speak of how they are a lover of Jesus, or a God fan, or a Christian only, or a sold out to Jesus person. That all sounds real good. But by looking at the various categories, one can quickly discover if they are indeed the real deal.
One sure way to see where they are at is to look at their ‘Photos’. If you get some pics of half-naked women, you know real fast this person is not someone to befriend. Or check out who their ‘Friends’ are. If these friends are known radical lefty trendies, or religious apostates, or theological liberals, that is also quite telling.
Also check out their ‘Likes’. Who and what they like or don’t like is quite revealing as well. If they are liking all sorts of radical secular causes or anti-Christian agendas, then they are worth giving a miss. Or check out who their fav ‘Groups,’ ‘Books,’ or ‘Music’ are.
As to books, I will often get these folk who are claiming to be avid followers of Christ liking as their favourite books decidedly non-Christian if not anti-Christian titles. They might be New Age mumbo jumbo titles, or works by known heretics, or questionable if not vile titles. That is a bit of a disconnect.
Music is also a good giveaway here. I am surprised how often I get folk who are claiming to be lovers of Jesus who list a whole bunch of disgusting, even pornographic musicians as their favs. They will have pop tarts like Lady GaGa or foul-mouthed rappers heading the top of their list, etc.
Or they will have ‘Movie’ likes which include all sorts of violent, sexually explicit, or expletive-drenched films as their favourites. In all these areas I am left scratching my head: on the one hand they are claiming that Jesus is their all, and they are totally dedicated disciples of Christ, but they betray all this when we learn a bit more about them.
There is, in other words, a rather glaring disconnect here. Their verbal allegiance is to Christ, while their actual allegiance seems to be fully to this world and everything in it. They seem to be just another ordinary Joe Pagan by all their likes and favs, yet they are trying to pass themselves off as keen Christians.
Sorry, such a disconnect leaves me greatly puzzled. Of course I am not saying here that true followers of Christ cannot like non-Christian music, watch non-Christian films, nor read non-Christian books. I do all three, at least to an extent. But they are not my major focus or preoccupation, as it seems for some of these folks.
So what is my point in all this? Jesus said that we can tell who true followers of his are by examining their fruit (Matthew 7:15-23). Sure, one’s likes and favs are not the only fruit one can inspect, but they can be pretty indicative nonetheless of where a person is at.
Worldliness is spoken about quite often in Scripture. We are clearly told that those who are friends of the world cannot be friends of God (see James 4:4 and 1 John 2:15-17 for example). The more we embrace the ways of the world, the more we imbibe of its values and beliefs, and the more we inundate ourselves with worldly and carnal entertainment and amusement, the less we can be said to be genuine disciples of Christ.
We must choose this day whom we will serve. As D.L. Moody once said, “It does not take long to tell where a man’s treasure is. In 15 minutes’ conversation with most men you can tell whether their treasures are on the earth or in heaven.”
Today with the social media it may only take about 15 seconds. Let me conclude with a few quotes from some of the great saints of the past who have warned about the very real dangers of worldliness:
“The church and the world have become so intertwined that it is hard to tell one from the other. The world has so affected the church’s moral standards that Christians say they believe in Christ and yet have never bothered to change their moral attitudes and standards at all.” -A.W. Tozer
“The true Christian is one who is kind of sick of this world. If I find anybody who is settled down too snugly into this world, I am made to doubt whether he’s ever truly been born again.” -A. W. Tozer
“How can you pull down strongholds of Satan if you don’t even have the strength to turn off your TV?” -Leonard Ravenhill
“The world is about to burn and its foundations shaken by the almighty hand of God, and Christians sit nonchalantly before their television idol, wasting precious time.” -David Wilkerson
“Would that we could see the wall of separation between the church and the world made broader and stronger. It makes one sad to hear Christians saying, ‘Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that,’ thus getting as near to the world as possible.” -Charles Spurgeon
“I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world, is because the world has so much influence over the church.” -Charles Spurgeon