Scripture Reading:
James 4:4; Rom. 12:2

“In which you once walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit which is now operating in the sons of disobedience;”(Ephesians 2:2)
how should we deal with our relationship with the world? (1)

A. Know God

Many are not aware of the influence of the world simply because they do not know God. If someone does not know God he will not know what is against God and consequently will not recognize what is taking the place of God in his life. James 4:4 says, "Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever determines to be a friend of the world is constituted an enemy of God." Here we see clearly that the world is against God's Person. We are either friends of God or friends of the world. We cannot be friends of both at the same time. If we want to deal with our relationship with the world, we must firstly know God.

If we do not know God, we have no standard to direct us; we have no terms of reference. We cannot clearly define what is the world and what is not the world. For some, the world may be certain things that take God's place in their life, but for others these same things may not be the world to them. It may be that you do not identify yourself with any of the examples given previously. Can you prove that you are not being usurped by any thing, activity or person? The way to answer this question is by having fellowship with God. Ask the Lord, "Lord Jesus, Is there anything that takes me away from You?" Is there something that has taken Your place in me?" By having sincere fellowship with God, divine light will come into your heart and you will be able to realize how you are with God in reality.

The more fellowship we have with God, the more sensitive we will be to His life within. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him and will know His will. Our capacity to recognize what is taking the place of God in our life and what is taking us away from His presence will increase. It is through fellowship with God that we will discover what the world is to us because the divine light will enlighten us. If we love the world, we will have a clear inward sense that we are short of the enjoyment of God's love because the world is against Him and has taken His place.

In order to deal with and find a solution to your relationship with the world, you need to ask, "How is my love for the Lord?" If you love God with all your heart, the world will not have any place in you. But how can you love Him if you do not know Him? And how can you know Him if you do not have fellowship with Him? Hence, the starting point in dealing with the world is to have fellowship with God.

B. Do Not be Fashioned According to This Age

We should take note that the world has an appearance to which it would like to conform us. Romans 12:2 says, "And do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind." Here the word translated as age is aion, and can be translated as "era," an age, a determined period of time.

When we speak about the world we are speaking about it in a general way, but when we speak about the age, we are referring to the section of the world in which we live and which affects us directly. We can compare the "ages" of the world to the different departments in a big store. The departments are organized to take care of every kind of person with their different tastes and needs. When someone goes to one of these stores, he is related to it through its many departments. Some may go to the modern clothes department while others go to the department of a more traditional style and still others go to the department of electric appliances. All these departments belong to the store and through them the store is able to reach the clients. In the same way, the world reaches people by means of the ages.

We can also compare the world to the segments of the current of a long river. You cannot be on the whole river. If you are on the bank, the part of the river that passes close to you is what may be called the "age" of the river. The course of the world began with Cain, passed through Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, Egypt and Babylon, until it arrived at our present time. Every century, every period, and even every decade has an age. These "ages" have been systematized and organized by Satan to determine what people should or should not do. Many people get into this "current" and are carried along by it without realizing it. Ephesians 2:2 says that we also once walked "according to the age of this world." It is worth mentioning that what the world decides we should be, think, wear, eat, listen to, etc., is very strong. This is why we must be careful to not be influenced and carried along by it.

To prevent this from happening we must know the will of God. Just as when someone knows God he will not be a friend of the world, if anyone knows the will of God he will not be conformed to the world's present "age."

Paul warned the saints in Rome to not be conformed to that age; they should not take on the appearance of that age. Today in this age, the world also has its appearance. If we had not been warned, we would easily offer our body to the things of this "age" and become accustomed to them. For this reason Paul showed that our mind needs to be renewed and we need to be transformed in order to experience what the will of God is. If we do not do this, our mind will easily be conformed to the things of this age.

Key Point:
Knowing God
How can we know God?