An unfortunate occurrence in our churches today is the thought that Christians can live a life that is pleasing to the Lord at the same time living as the world. This belief has been around since the beginning of time as it started with ancient man throughout Israel’s rebellious actions towards God unto the arrival of the Christian community during the time of the apostles. So many Christians today ask this same question, “Can Christians live as the world and at the same time please God?” Let’s take a look at history and scripture.
Paul saw this conformity happening throughout many of the churches in his day and in many of his letters addressed this particular issue: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2). In this particular verse Paul is addressing the issue to the Roman church to help them better understand that a child of God can’t serve both God and mammon.
If we live as the world and are not transformed by the Holy Spirit then how can we truly know what is good and acceptable unto God? How would we know His will for our lives? When we are covered in the filth of the world, then we are blinded to God’s truths. The apostle John goes on to clarify this in his first epistle, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15).
We have a choice in life, a choice to follow God or follow the world; take of the fruit of the tree of life or take from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Paul goes on to write in his second epistle to the Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we trust in Jesus as our savior and submit our life to Him, then the old life is reckoned dead and that means the life of the world that was once in us is now gone.
In the Old Testament the same life was required, “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31). We live in the world, but we are not of this world. We are to live a life that is pleasing to God and be an example to other Christians as well as non-believers with our conduct and way of life. The world often times looks tempting and you want to take a bite, but the end is bitter and full of regret. “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27).