Toxic Worldliness: What it is and How To Avoid It

When we love the world and its ways, we get lost in all its pleasures.

Last Updated:
December 25, 2023
January 19, 2022
5 min

Table of Contents

We tend to fall in love with what we hold dear in our hearts. When we love the world and its ways, we end up getting lost in all its pleasures. We go to church, fellowship, and Christian conferences, but our loyalty is divided between God and the world. We find it hard to leave behind the things of the world and this is the point where we can be said to be worldly.

Definition of worldliness

The Message (MSG) version of the Bible presents worldliness this way, “Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him” (1 John 2:16). Do you see yourself in any of these things?

When we are worldly, we are heavily influenced by the world such that we conform to its ways and dictates of how we should live. We want to enjoy its trends, pleasures, ideas, wisdom, and be recognized by it. We begin to question whether things in the Bible apply to us considering how advanced the world has become. We live more like the world and less like Jesus. Jesus begins to look like He's no fun at all. If not careful, we can cross over to the worldly side and get lost completely.

I remember watching the testimony of a young male gospel artist whom God had blessed abundantly. He came from a poor background and had now become famous and wealthy. Unfortunately, in a few short years, his gospel songs turned into secular and sensual songs. He later started a reality show that focused on the glam of life and nothing to do with the gospel. Lastly, he released a video clip of his wife and himself on social media dancing in a manner that is reserved for the club or bedroom. It is sad because the man sank into worldliness and no longer saw anything wrong with it.

How Worldliness Affects Our Christian Faith

When we become worldly, our focus shifts to thinking and praying about acquiring things, being on the bestselling list, becoming famous, having over 100k subscribers, being the pastor’s favorite, marrying the most eligible bachelor/bachelorette in church, and the list goes on. We want to live the American dream, the London dream, or whatever dream there is in our part of the world. If not careful, we will lose the essence of the gospel which is to set us free from the sinfulness that enslaved us in the past.

If we want to grow in our Christian faith, we have to slam on the brakes of being more like the world and step on the accelerator of being more like Christ. Worldliness takes us further from God because we desire Him less and the world more.

I started out in the world and couldn’t help but indulge in a lot of its pleasures. When I got saved, I imagined that salvation was a magic pill to get rid of worldliness instantly. I soon realized that I had to make a choice to leave behind the things that the world naturally gravitates to and start pursuing the things of God. I assure you, this is easier said than done. Below is a list of some of the things I learned about dealing with worldliness.

How Do We Get Rid of Worldliness as Christians?

Focus on the things of God

Colossians 3:1-2 gives a good summary of where our focus should be as Christians. It says that because we were raised with Christ, we should seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. That we should set our minds on things above and not those on the earth. Today, make the choice to start focusing on your purpose, living like Christ, sharing the gospel with others, serving God, and not forgetting to grow your relationship with God.

Renew your mind

Romans 12:2 tells us not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by renewing our minds so that we will be in touch with God’s will. As Christians, we renew our minds with the Word of God so that we can see things from His perspective. Knowing God’s Word will help you draw the line between Christian living and worldliness.

Say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions

To win the battle of worldliness, we have to say “no” to it and live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives even in the 21st century (Titus 2:11-13). God’s grace will help you overcome the pleasures of the world; it is not something you do in your strength. When we are friends with the world, we become enemies of God because we indulge in everything that He hates (James 4:4). Anything that does not lead you toward God leads you away from Him.

Ask God for help and wisdom

God gave us His Spirit to guide us in making the right choices in life. 1 Corinthians 2:12 tells us that we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. When you can’t differentiate what is worldly or not, pray for wisdom and look out for the answers in the Word of God.

Keep away from ungodly talk and environments

When we consistently engage in ungodly conversations with others, we become more ungodly and prone to embracing worldliness. Ungodly talk centers on the things of this world and does nothing to bring you closer to God. 2 Timothy 2:16 says that we should avoid godless chatter because those who indulge in it become more ungodly. There are places and spaces that you have to unplug from if you are to grow in your faith.


Getting rid of worldliness does not mean that we should only limit our movement to church, work, and home to avoid engaging with the world. It means that we must not let anything in the world crowd out the love of God in our hearts. Nothing should be exalted in our hearts but God, and when this order is reversed, our faith will suffer a fatal blow. Be in the world, but don’t be of it.

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