“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

5.6 Changing Your Worldly Habits

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. – James 4:4

“And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” – Genesis 4:7

When you were born again with your sins forgiven, you were covered by the blood of Christ and clothed with the righteousness of Christ. We are to be a holy people set apart for God, not entangled again in the world. Scripture reads, “the Lord is my shepherd,” not “the world is my shepherd.” We should heed the words of the apostle Paul:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

In effect, you were given spotless and pure clothes of “white” to wear when you were born again, for you have become as a “virgin” again to sin:

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. – Galatians 3:27

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean” …

“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow.” – Isaiah 1:16,18

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands. – Revelation 7:9

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” – Revelation 19:7-8

It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless. – Revelation 14:4-5 (ESV)

However, even after we are born again, we must still confront sin on a daily basis and prevail over it, for if you return once again to the ways of this world, you will again be tarnished by sin. While we remain in this fallen world, we must contend with this awful, sinful pull every single day of our lives, for it is written:

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
– James 4:7

Just because you are born again doesn’t make this pull go away, for we are still in our mortal fleshly bodies until death. And do not underestimate the power of your old carnal nature – for it is a worthy opponent and it will take all you have by abiding in the power of Christ to defeat it! Additionally, the teaching that a born-again Christian no longer sins is a false teaching (see Beware the Wolves). Luke 9:23 says, “if anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me,” and we read that “sin is crouching right at the door,” ready and waiting to devour us:

“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” – Genesis 4:7

Now I fully confess right here that it’s much easier to write (and read) this chapter than it is to actually change one’s worldly habits. Truth be told, I have found this to be one of the hardest things to do – but you must do it. You cannot be a “light to the world” if you walk in (regularly partake of) the darkness of the world. Also, notice that this is the only chapter in the entire book which starts with two Scripture verses at its head! This fallen world (and the schemes of man) call out to your flesh every moment of every day, bombarding you with “lust of the flesh” and “lust of the eyes” temptations (entertainment, media, books, internet, movies, etc.), which are blaring out in staggering volume and frequency from this fallen world and fallen man.

Do not love the world nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2:15-17

Scripture also warns that excessive cares and concerns for this material world can be a significant risk for your eternal salvation. They can hinder your ability to focus on God, and they can also steer you back into sinful behavior and idol worship. We are not to idolize the things of this world (money, fame, power, possessions, etc.), for they are snares that can draw you away from following Christ. Anything that we put above God is an “idol” to us. Riches (“the love of money”), in particular, is called out as a specific snare to be very wary of (i.e., idolizing money and the relentless pursuit of it and trusting in it instead of God).

Also, do not fall victim to the deceptions of the “once saved always saved” false teaching. One who is born again can later “fall away,” go apostate, backslide, turn back, or quit the faith. Please re-read the chapter on persevering in faith where that subject was covered in much more detail. The great apostle Paul wrote that he strived to remain pure and undefiled. Now, if even the great apostle and inspired writer could have “disqualified” himself, how much more should we also “be diligent to be found by him [Christ] without spot or blemish,” lest we “be found naked” once again (i.e., not covered by and clothed in the righteousness of Christ) on the great Day of Judgment:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. – Philippians 3:12-21

“‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” – Revelation 3:4-6

However, we are able to prevail by the power of Christ who lives in us, but must keep our eyes fixed above and not on the things of this world:

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, rid yourselves of all of them: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you stripped off the old self with its evil practices. – Colossians 3:1-9

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. – Philippians 4:8

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. – Galatians 6:7-8


And while it’s true we are to share the gospel message with the lost, it is not true that we are to socialize with them, partaking in their worldly activities continually. We are to be “set apart” for Christ:

Herefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people
“Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,”
says the Lord.
And do not touch what is unclean [sin];
And I will welcome you.
“And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. – 2 Timothy 2:21-22

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. – James 4:4

Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. – James 1:21

and to keep oneself unstained by the world. – James 1:27

Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. – 1 John 1:6

 The more you are around immorality, sensuality, and the things of this world, and the more you watch, listen and participate in such things, the further from God you will again drift. Socializing with those who still live in the flesh will infect you; in fact, it’s much more likely that they will influence you to sin than you will influence them to Christ, as it is written:

A little leaven [sin] leavens the whole lump of dough. – Galatians 5:9

We must be ever so mindful to remain as a “virgin” bride of Christ (see 2 Cor 11:2, Rev. 14 – undefiled by sin as much as humanly possible) and strive not to dirty (pollute) our “white garments” again with sin (see Rev. 3:18, Rev. 7, Rev. 19 – white clothes and virgin indicating purity, undefiled/unpolluted by sin), so we will not be ashamed when we stand before Him on Judgment Day (Rev. 7). So, I’m simply going to state the obvious here:

  • It’s best to fellowship with those who love and serve the Lord,
  • It’s best not to go to bars, social clubs, nightclubs, and other such places (and no, this is not where you go to share Christ, as a general habit),
  • You will find many old “friends” are no longer “friends” due to your change in activities, and they fall away from you (and probably mock you) as you decline to participate in their worldly/fleshly gratifying activities. So be it.

In distilling this chapter down to a simple question, I would phrase it as: Are you striving to understand and partake of the ways of man or the ways of God? It is by that distinction you can discern the difference between living in the Spirit vs. living in the flesh (world). By understanding the ways of man, you may be able to manipulate them for your own fame and fortune, but you will not be able to manipulate God on the great Day of Judgment – for all the ways of man lead to death. On the other hand, if you understand the ways of God, they lead to eternal life. This choice is yours to make. Each day, you must choose to move towards Christ or back towards this world.


The Parable of the Sower given in Matthew 17:3-8, 18-23 is relevant here, symbolizing someone who hears and accepts the word of God (believes, is born again), but then the cares of the world (thorns) choke it out. Make no mistake about it – seeking again the things of this world after you have been born again will drown out God. This also completely contradicts any “once saved always saved” false teaching you may hear! “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Perspective is key. Remember, for a Christian, “friendship with the world is hostility toward God.” You are also commanded not to entangle yourself in worldly affairs, for “our Christian citizenship is in heaven,” not this fallen world. A parable from The Pilgrim’s Progress is helpful here: [1]

INTERPRETER: I saw moreover in my dream, that the Interpreter took him by the hand, and had him into a little room, where sat two little children, each one in his chair. The name of the eldest was Passion, and the name of the other Patience. Passion seemed to be much discontented, but Patience was very quiet. Then Christian asked, “What is the reason of the discontent of Passion?” The Interpreter answered, “The governor of them would have him stay for his best things till the beginning of the next year, but he will have all now; but Patience is willing to wait.”

Then I saw that one came to Passion, and brought him a bag of treasure, and poured it down at his feet: the which he took up, and rejoiced therein, and withal laughed Patience to scorn. But I beheld but a while, and he had lavished all away, and had nothing left him but rags.

CHRISTIAN: Then said Christian to the Interpreter, Expound this matter more fully to me.

INTERPRETER: So he said, These two lads are figures; Passion of the men of this world, and Patience of the men of that which is to come; for, as here thou seest, passion will have all now, this year, that is to say, in this world; so are the men of this world: They must have all their good things now; they cannot stay till the next year, that is, until the next world, for their portion of good. That proverb, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” is of more authority with them than are all the divine testimonies of the good of the world to come. But as thou sawest that he had quickly lavished all away, and had presently left him nothing but rags, so will it be with all such men at the end of this world.

CHRISTIAN: Then said Christian, Now I see that Patience has the best wisdom, and that upon many accounts. 1. Because he stays for the best things. 2. And also because he will have the glory of his, when the other has nothing but rags.

INTERPRETER: Nay, you may add another, to wit, the glory of the next world will never wear out; but these are suddenly gone. Therefore Passion had not so much reason to laugh at Patience because he had his good things first, as Patience will have to laugh at Passion because he had his best things last; for first must give place to last, because last must have his time to come: but last gives place to nothing, for there is not another to succeed. He, therefore, that hath his portion first, must needs have a time to spend it; but he that hath his portion last, must have it lastingly: therefore it is said of Dives, “In thy lifetime thou receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” [Luke 16:25].

CHRISTIAN: Then I perceive it is not best to covet things that are now, but to wait for things to come.

INTERPRETER: You say truth: for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal. [2 Cor. 4:18].


John Bunyan writes this warning in The Heavenly Footman about returning to (towards) the world after once starting out in the way of a Christian: [2]

If this will not provoke thee [to run towards heaven and Christ], consider thus:What then will become of them that some time since were running post-haste to heaven, (insomuch that they seemed to outstrip many,) but now are running as fast back again? Do you think those will ever come thither? What! To run back again—back again to sin, to the world, to the devil—back again to the lust of the flesh! Oh, “it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it to turn (to turn back again) from the holy commandment.” Those men shall not only be damned for sin, but for professing to all the world that sin is better than Christ; for the man that runs back again, he doth as good as say, I have tried Christ, and I have tried sin, and I do not find so much profit in Christ as in sin. I say, this man declareth this, even by his running back again. Oh sad! What a doom they will have who were almost at heaven-gates and then run back again! “If any draweth back,” saith Christ, “my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Again, “No man having put his hand to the plough, (that is, set forward in the ways of God,) and looking back, (turning back again,) is fit for the kingdom of heaven.” And if not fit for the kingdom of heaven, then for certain he must needs be fit for the fire of hell. And therefore (saith the apostle) those that bring forth these apostatizing fruits, as “briers and thorns, are rejected, being nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.”

And further:

Now, that you may be provoked to run [towards heaven and Christ] with the foremost [urgency and attention], take notice of this. When Lot and his wife were running from cursed Sodom to the mountains to save their lives, it is said that his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt; and yet you see that neither her practice, nor the judgment of God that fell upon her for the same, would cause Lot to look behind him. I have sometimes wondered at Lot in this particular; his wife looked behind her and died immediately, but let what would become of her. Lot would not so much as look behind him to see her. We do not read that he did so much as once look where she was or what was become of her; his heart was indeed upon his journey, and well it might; there was the mountain before him and the fire and brimstone behind him; his life lay at stake, and he had lost it if he had but looked behind him. Do thou so run; and in thy race remember Lot’s wife and remember her doom, and remember for what that doom did overtake her, and remember that God made her an example for all lazy runners to the end of the world; and take heed thou fall not after the same example.

Consider also the Jews leaving Egypt and then longing to return to bondage (see Numbers 14) – they all perished in the wilderness. Please take heed of yourself.


I can’t warn you strongly enough not to underestimate how hard the world tries to draw you back into it, with nonstop, glitzy, flashy, sexy, seemingly glamorous allures and temptations, shouted from the rooftops and all secular media sources 24/7/365 at full volume. It is truly staggering how much noise the world makes in an attempt to drown out the simple message of the gospel and also to allure the newly born-again baby Christian back into the clutches of sin and eternal death.

This excerpt from The Pilgrim’s Progress about the “Vanity Fair” of the world offers an excellent synopsis of this subject: [3]

INTERPRETER: Then I saw in my dream, that when they were got out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair. It is kept all the year long. It beareth the name of Vanity Fair, because the town where it is kept is lighter than vanity, [Psa. 62:9]; and also because all that is there sold, or that cometh thither, is vanity; as is the saying of the wise, “All that cometh is vanity.” [Eccl. 11:8; see also 1:2-14; 2:11-17; Isa. 40:17].

This fair is no new-erected business but a thing of ancient standing. I will show you the original of it.

Almost five thousand years ago there were pilgrims walking to the Celestial City, as these two honest persons are: and Beelzebub, Apollyon, and Legion, with their companions, perceiving by the path that the pilgrims made, that their way to the city lay through this town of Vanity, they contrived here to set up a fair; a fair wherein should be sold all sorts of vanity, and that it should last all the year long. Therefore, at this fair are all such merchandise sold as houses, lands, trades, places, honors, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures; and delights of all sorts, as harlots, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not.

And moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be seen jugglings, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of every kind.

Here are to be seen, too, and that for nothing, thefts, murders, adulteries, false-swearers, and that of a blood-red color.

And, as in other fairs of less moment, there are the several rows and streets under their proper names, where such and such wares are vended; so here, likewise, you have the proper places, rows, streets, (namely, countries and kingdoms,) where the wares of this fair are soonest to be found. Here is the Britain Row, the French Row, the Italian Row, the Spanish Row, the German Row, where several sorts of vanities are to be sold. But, as in other fairs, some one commodity is as the chief of all the fair; so the ware of Rome and her merchandise is greatly promoted in this fair; only our English nation, with some others, have taken a dislike thereat.

Now, as I said, the way to the Celestial City lies just through this town, where this lusty fair is kept; and he that will go to the city, and yet not go through this town, “must needs go out of the world.” [1 Cor. 5:10]. The Prince of princes himself, when here, went through this town to his own country, and that upon a fair-day too; yea, and, as I think, it was Beelzebub, the chief lord of this fair, that invited him to buy of his vanities, yea, would have made him lord of the fair, would he but have done him reverence as he went through the town. Yea, because he was such a person of honor, Beelzebub had him from street to street, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a little time, that he might, if possible, allure that blessed One to cheapen and buy some of his vanities; but he had no mind to the merchandise, and therefore left the town, without laying out so much as one farthing upon these vanities. [Matt. 4:8,9; Luke 4:5-7]. This fair, therefore, is an ancient thing, of long standing, and a very great fair.

Now, these pilgrims, as I said, must needs go through this fair. Well, so they did; but behold, even as they entered into the fair, all the people in the fair were moved; and the town itself, as it were, in a hubbub about them, and that for several reasons: for,

First, The Pilgrims were clothed with such kind of raiment as was diverse from the raiment of any that traded in that fair. The people, therefore, of the fair made a great gazing upon them: some said they were fools; [1 Cor. 4:9,10]; some, they were bedlams; and some, they were outlandish men.

Secondly, And as they wondered at their apparel, so they did likewise at their speech; for few could understand what they said. They naturally spoke the language of Canaan; but they that kept the fair were the men of this world: so that from one end of the fair to the other, they seemed barbarians each to the other. [1 Cor. 2:7,8].

Thirdly, But that which did not a little amuse the merchandisers was, that these pilgrims set very light by all their wares. They cared not so much as to look upon them; and if they called upon them to buy, they would put their fingers in their ears, and cry, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity,” [Psa. 119:37], and look upward, signifying that their trade and traffic was in heaven. [Phil. 3: 20,21].

One chanced, mockingly, beholding the carriage of the men, to say unto them, “What will ye buy?” But they, looking gravely upon him, said, “We buy the truth.” [Prov. 23:23]. At that there was an occasion taken to despise the men the more; some mocking, some taunting, some speaking reproachfully, and some calling upon others to smite them. At last, things came to an hubbub and great stir in the fair, insomuch that all order was confounded. Now was word presently brought to the great one of the fair, who quickly came down, and deputed some of his most trusty friends to take those men into examination about whom the fair was almost overturned. So the men were brought to examination; and they that sat upon them asked them whence they came, whither they went, and what they did there in such an unusual garb. The men told them they were pilgrims and strangers in the world, and that they were going to their own country, which was the heavenly Jerusalem, [Heb. 11:13-16]; and that they had given no occasion to the men of the town, nor yet to the merchandisers, thus to abuse them, and to let them in their journey, except it was for that, when one asked them what they would buy, they said they would buy the truth.

So be on guard, for many will quit the faith, even after starting out as you now have, and many will turn back to the ways of this world – longing again for their old sinful ways, habits, behaviors, and friends. We should heed the strong warning given to us by the example of Lot’s wife, who longed again (looked back to) for the ways of sin after leaving Sodom and was therefore turned into a “pillar of salt” (see Genesis 19). Always remember that Satan, the devil, “prowls around like a roaring lion,” seeking to turn you back any way that he can!


I want to add one important teaching note to this chapter, so you do not get discouraged, and that is about the continued fight with sin even after one is born again (see the false teaching: A Christian No Longer Sins).

Even after one is born-again, you still retain your old fleshly nature as well as your new spirit nature in Christ. They will wage war with each other (Matthew 26:41, Romans 7:14-25, 2 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Peter 2:11). But if you do fall down and sin, confess your sins before Christ, who is “faithful and just to forgive” you (1 John 1:9). His mercy, compassion, lovingkindness, and grace are absolutely massive. Just pick yourself up, again walk in the Spirit, ask the Lord for wisdom to deal with whatever weakness you have, as well as for His strength and guidance going forward (Psalm 23:1). A Christian’s life is one of continued repentance. One of my favorite verses helps a lot here:

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

Remember the teaching of Christ also. Peter once asked Jesus how many times he should forgive those who sinned against him (see Matthew 18:21-22), probably expecting to hear the number three or five and even suggested the number seven (i.e., a small number of times). However, the Lord answered with the number “seventy times seven” (i.e., 490). Now the actual number given here isn’t the important part (we are not to interpret that as a literal 490 times we are to forgive sins); what’s important is the magnitude of the number – it’s an ENORMOUS number which was far, far above anything that Peter might have even remotely imagined in his own mind! This again demonstrates that the depths of the love, kindness, mercy, and grace of God are very great indeed!

One last matter for this chapter: A conscientious Christian, a son of God, a “new creature” in Christ, should evaluate their lifestyle and re-examine any habits or behaviors that may have carried over from before their conversion (when they were born again) – things such as smoking, drinking alcohol, etc. Scripture tells us that “we are no longer our own” and that we are “living stones” in the temple of God.  We should strive to “do all things to the glory of God.” Harmful habits and behavior may need to be addressed; let your conscience be your guide. I’m speaking here to behaviors that are not expressly forbidden by Scripture.

The subject at hand continues in the next chapter, which discusses changing your entertainment habits, for they are very much related.



And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” – Luke 9:23

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age. – Titus 2:11-12

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13-16

For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. – Romans 6:5-7

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. – Romans 6:12-19

My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent. – Proverbs 1:10

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. – 1 Corinthians 15:33-34

Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But live in the fear of the Lord always.
Surely there is a future,
And your hope will not be cut off.
Listen, my son, and be wise,
And direct your heart in the way.
Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,
And drowsiness will clothe one with rags. – Proverbs 23:17-21

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers [pilgrims] to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. – 1 Peter 2:11-12

…in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. – Romans 8:4b-8

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. – Romans 8:12-14

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says,

“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. – Ephesians 5:1-21

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. – Galatians 1:3-5

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” – John 15:18-19

I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her [Babylon], my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues.” – Revelation 18:4

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” – Matthew 16:24-27

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” – Galatians 2:20

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. – Ephesians 4:17-24

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. – Ephesians 4:29-31

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1

But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. – 1 Timothy 6:9-10

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. – 2 Timothy 2:1-7 [Note: You are a soldier for Christ now!]

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. – Hebrews 11:23-26

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” – 2 Peter 2:20-22

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found spotless and blameless by Him. – 2 Peter 3:14

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:24-26

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. – Galatians 5:16-25

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. – 1 Peter 4:1-6

And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” – Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Leave the presence of a fool,
Or you will not discern words of knowledge. – Proverbs 14:7

A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil,
But a fool is arrogant and careless. – Proverbs 14:16

A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left. Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool. – Ecclesiastes 10:2-3

The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. – Romans 13:12-14

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” – John 17:16

And you were dead in your offenses and sins, in which you previously walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the rest. – Ephesians 2:1-3

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. – 1 John 1:5-10

[1] Bunyan, John. (1678/2018), The Pilgrim’s Progress, (London/Holy Spirit Prints).

[2] Bunyan, John. The Heavenly Footman, 1698

[3] Bunyan, John. (1678/2018), The Pilgrim’s Progress, (London/Holy Spirit Prints).

Next Page>

Cite this article

Anderson, R. John. "5.6 Changing Your Worldly Habits." EachDay.org. Access date: July 15, 2024. https://eachday.org/part-v-next-steps/5-6-changing-your-worldly-habits/