Others think of me as worldly. I don’t usually play along with what a lot of Christians are doing to avoid the label of “worldly.” For starters, I haven’t made the switch to only listen to the Christian radio station. In fact, I never listen to the Christian radio station so I’m always at a loss when people want to talk to me about whatever new album Toby Mac has released. When I was a teenager, I was told of the evils of “secular” music and taught to only listen to Christian music. I did. I learned a lot about the Christian music industry and learned that it was a lot more industry than Christian.

I also don’t shun every TV show that AFA doesn’t like. I’m not a fan of the American Family Association, so there’s that.

I’m a political cynic, so I have yet to buy into the idea that the Republican Party loves Jesus more than the Democratic Party. I think they both love money and power more.

So I don’t fit in with Christians a lot. These opinions come up and I get this look from people. It’s a look that makes me feel like I have the Ebola virus. My worldliness is exposed. I don’t live up to the rules. My only hope is that grace abounds enough to keep talking to me.

So, when I’m standing in line at T4G and the first free book comes my way, I was a little apprehensive when I saw that the title was “Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World.” It was edited by C.J. Mahaney. Over the next few days, I learned who he is. (I realize that other T4G attendees think I have just committed heresy so here it is: I was drug to the conference by friends. I didn’t know anything about it before I went, but its ok, I enjoyed it. I’m learning as fast as I can, ok?) He struck me as a funny, thoughtful, gracious, compassionate, deeply passionate kind of guy, so I figured I’d give it a read.

Here is what I didn’t want: rules. I can find the faults in your rules. I really can. I’m really good at pointing out inconsistencies. Its my judgmental way of dealing with judgmental people (fl Look! An inconsistency!), so I’m not impressed with your rules. This book covers worldliness as it pertains to media, music, stuff, and clothing. I expected rules.

I was pleasantly surprised. There were no rules. There were no lists of satanic rock stars. There were no shocking stories of what’s on TV. But that doesn’t mean its easy to read.

Mahaney and his Sovereign Grace pals do a great job of explaining that worldliness (and holiness for that matter) is not an issue of rules, but an issue of the heart. But, fellow rule-haters, that doesn’t let us off the hook so easily. The question I began to ask as I read about the heart issue of worldliness, is what is in my heart when I hate the rules? Granted, no one is anymore holy because they do the right thing for the wrong reason, but its not better doing the wrong thing for the right reason, is it?

The struggle I have is that I know this book is pointing in the right direction. I realize that I am making choices everyday that compromise my faith; that expose my heart for loving something other than Christ.
Applying the rules will not help. I know that. I have long since realized that living according to rules has very little to do with Christ. I just can’t stop there. Now I have to look deeper to my heart.

This book is a challenge. If you are like me and you hate the rules, hate the legalism, and hate the judgmental attitude that is so often associated with Christianity, I recommend you read this book. The challenge to be on the right path is before us, even though we have dismissed wrong paths in the past.

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