As Christians, we have a mission to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, reconciling the world to God. (Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). But did you know the world has a mission too? When I speak of the world’s mission, I’m speaking of the system of beliefs, ways of living, motivations and goals of the world we live in apart from Christianity. Take away the Christian values of morality, the values of ethics, the holiness, glory, godliness and righteousness, and what you have in essence is the world’s mission. Basically if you remove the church from the picture, here’s what’s left.
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. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. (I John 2:15-16 NKJV)
There it is in a nutshell; the world is all about spreading the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. If your flesh can enjoy it, if your eyes can behold it, and if your ego can desire it, the world has it to offer. Our media, entertainment, and social practices all support this system.
Let me clarify something here: The world system and mission is bad, but the world itself is good. When God made the world, he said it is good. The problem isn’t the world. It’s how we interact with the world and how we allow it to influence us.
We should be “in the world” but not “of the world”. That means we should enjoy all that God has provided for us without allowing our lusts to cause us sin. All sin can be grouped into the three categories of the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. The world we live in will always tempt us with those things.
Instead, we should seek God’s guidance as we live in this world. He can give us vision to recognize the effects of the world’s influence on our lives. He can give us wisdom to escape the world’s temptations. He can give us power to overcome sin.