Living Godly in an Ungodly World
What does it take to live a Godly life in an ungodly world? Many of us have asked ourselves this question repeatedly. No matter where we turn or what we do, it seems that our minds are constantly being bombarded with a marketing sales pitch that often borders on the obscene. The signatures of sin and evil are all around us in this fallen world.
There has to be something more – an anchor to our souls – someone who can show us how to keep the course of our lives stead and set so that we are sailing in the right direction. That person is Jesus Christ. He is our only salvation from sin – the anchor of our souls: Hebrews 6:19 - “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls…” NLT
This anchor holds firm, especially when the storms of life threaten and when the enemy’s temptations blow hard against us.
Does this mean that we can escape the troubles of this world? No, but it does mean that if we set the compass of our hearts on Christ. Then when the aggressive winds and tumbling waves of temptation come, we will not be consumed or overwhelmed by them. We can say no to the very things that would separate us from the One who loves us with an eternal love.
Jesus knew that we would face serious temptations and trials. The night of His arrest, He prayed for us: John 17:15 - “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” NKJV
Living a Godly life in an ungodly world is realizing that we do not belong to ourselves. As believers, we belong to Jesus. He is the Shepherd of our souls!
Our heavenly Father has provided all that we need to live free of Satan’s temptations, tactics, lies, and snares. Therefore, all that we do should bring honor and glory to Him.
We must come face to face with immorality and expose it for what it is – wrong in the eyes of God. If we want to live Godly in an ungodly world and be saved - we must also have the right plan
Have a heart-focus that is set on Jesus Christ! We do this by being committed to prayer and the study of God’s word. We can’t learn to live Godly lives unless we follow the instruction manual that God has given us and this is His word, the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NKJV
Proverbs 4:23 – “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” NLT
Psalm 119:11 – “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” NKJV
Refuse to get caught up in busywork and believe that we are pleasing God! The greatest gift you can give the Lord is not a full schedule; busyness will prevent us from getting to know God in a personal way. Even before you get up in the morning, God is preparing the steps that you will take throughout the day. Step number one should be to spend time with Him in prayer.
Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God.” NKJV
Realize that God loves you with an unconditional love! No one will ever care as much for you as God does right now. Christ died so that you can have eternal life. He has loved you with an everlasting love, and His love never changes. You can’t earn more of it and you can’t lose it. If you sin and sense there is a distance between you and the Lord, it is not because His love has faded for you.
There are consequences to sin that are unavoidable and one is that we sense God’s rebuke because we have grieved His Spirit. However, when we pray and ask for Him to forgive us, He does and He restores our fellowship with Him because His love has the ability to cover a multitude of sins.
Psalm 51:10-13: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.” NKJV
Be willing to invest in your spiritual future! The Bible is not out of date. The church on Crete was under assault by Satan and our hearts and minds are feeling the weight of this same struggle.
There is only one way to win the war that is being waged against you and that is through faith in Jesus Christ – faith that does not shrink. It is faith that is not compromised one day and forgotten the next. Instead, it is faith that is built and maintained through love and devotion to God’s Son.
1 John 5:4 – “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” NKJV
If you are struggling against God’s will and plan for your life, stop. Ask Him to help you understand the depth of His love for you. Also pray that you will be sensitive to His Spirit and say no to the temptations and passions of this world. When you do, you will find that God is with you, giving you the ability you need to live a “godly life in an ungodly world!”
Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” NLT
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world! Nobody is going to argue that we shouldn’t live in the world. God created this world for humans to live in. It is not God’s will that we “escape” from living in the world. He would say we are to go into all the world and preach the gospel; we are to let our light shine before men. Can we as Christians, do either of those two things if we live completely isolated and secluded from the rest of the world? This is not what God intended at all.
However, neither are we to allow ourselves to be conformed to this world.
Romans 12:2 - “…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.” NKJV
Romans 12:2 - “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think...” NLT
If I’m conforming to something I am succumbing to or complying with either what’s around me or what’s being forced upon me whether that be laws, rules, etc. Sometimes it’s against my own will, and sometimes it isn’t. For instance, as a teenager living under my parents’ roof, I have to conform to whatever rules my parents establish, whether I like the rules or not. At other times, conforming to others can be voluntary, such as when one is subjected to peer pressure.
Many Christians, especially young people, have taken this approach after being constantly bombarded with the things of this world. Instead of standing strong in their faith, they succumb to the habits, activities, etc. of their peers and before they know it, they’ve blended right in with the worldliness all around them to the point where an individual outside the church can’t even determine the difference between young people in the church and young people in the world. Over and over, Jesus makes the point that you can’t be a part of the world and be completely committed to God. There’s no in between, no having one foot in the world and having one foot in the church.
You might be looking at this with an overhanging feeling of gloom and depression. How can we live in the world without succumbing to the evils around us? This world grows increasingly immoral every single day. Is it even possible to live in this world and not conform? How can it be done?
We must be transformed! How does one renew their mind? The simplest answer I can give you on how to renew your mind would be through personal prayer and Bible study. Of course there are numerous ways, but these are the most effective ways to draw closer to God.
With all the immorality and unhealthy material we come face to face with every single day, whether it be through TV, music, magazines or whatever it may be, it’s crucial that we rid our homes of these things, it’s even more crucial that we replace it with biblical and healthy material. Granted, this is going to require more effort, especially from parents. It’s going to require them sitting down and having biblical discussions with their children more than once a week.
I can’t think of anything more worth our time and effort than trying to keep kids faithful by renewing their minds. The statistics show that we haven’t done a good job of that over the last 20+ years. The rate for young people leaving the church is off the charts and continuing to grow, telling us that the church of Christ in America is epidemically sick. The disease is a nasty mixture of apathy, worldliness, and several other things that have produced pews full of lukewarm Christians. It’s time for the fire to be lit again under us and for us to be truly transformed.
We are called to be different. Call it cliché but if we continue to let our Christian light grow brighter instead of letting it grow dim, the world will see us for what we truly are. Not lukewarm, apathetic people who live the lives of people in the world, but then go to church once or twice a week. Instead, they’ll see a transformed group of believers who are on fire for the Lord and who are earnestly desiring to share the message of God’s love with them. Only by renewing our mind can we rid ourselves of our worldliness and truly be transformed followers of Christ.
There is only one remedy for worldliness: Matthew 6:33 – “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” NLT That means:
I. Hear – believe – obey God’s Word
James 1:21-25: “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” NLT
II. Spend much time in prayer
I Thessalonians 5:17 – “Never stop praying.” NLT
III. Spend more time with other Christians
Hebrews 10:24-25: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” NLT
George Washington said “Always associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your reputation, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.” ASV
IV. Get your mind out of the gutter
Colossians 3:1-3: “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” NLT
You say “I can’t control my thoughts. From time to time, bad thoughts slip into my mind, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” We all have thoughts we should not have. The question is not “Will we have them?” but “Will we dwell on them?”
Isaiah 55:7-9: “Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that He may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously. My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” NLT
Jeremiah 4:14 – “O Jerusalem, cleanse your heart that you may be saved. How long will you harbor your evil thoughts?” NLT
Romans 8:5-6: “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” NLT
Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” NKJV
V. Devote your life to the Lord
Matthew 16:25-27: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” NKJV
There is only one way to escape the consequences of sin and that’s to leave it. No person can do it for you. No pill will take sin’s grip away. No good work will erase it out. You have to break the bind. The sin has to be stopped. The longer it continues, the stronger its grip.
“I can’t stop this sin.” Well, maybe “YOU” can’t. But there is someone Who can help you!
Isaiah 40:29-31: “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” NLT
Isaiah 41:10 – “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” NLT
Romans 8:12-13: “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.” NLT
Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” NKJV
We say we want to go to heaven, but too many are hanging on to things that will prevent them from going: Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” NLT
Mark 8:36-37: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” NKJV