“ He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. ” (Psalm 91:1) (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Different from the World
We may say that we do not care what
others think of us, but in reality, most of us
want to fit in and be accepted. However,
if we are true imitators of Christ, we will
never “fit in” to this world’s value system.
As Christians, we should fight our natural
tendency to conform to this world because
its values and priorities oppose Christ’s!
This lesson will challenge you to evaluate
your priorities and help you determine
whether your lifestyle more closely reflects
the world’s values or God’s.
1. In your opinion, what most clearly distinguishes you from your
non-Christian friends?
2. What worldly priorities do you think are most challenging for
Christians not to adopt as their own today?
Read the following sets of Bible passages and application notes. Answer
the questions for each set before moving on to the next.
1 John 2:15-17
Love not the world,
neither the things that are
in the world. If any man
love 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 pride of life,
is not of the Father, but is
of the world. And the
world passeth away, and
the lust thereof: but he
that doeth the will of God
abideth for ever.
Do not love the world
or anything in the world.
If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father is
not in him. For everything
in the world—the
cravings of sinful man,
the lust of his eyes and the
boasting of what he has
and does—comes not
from the Father but from
the world. The world and
its desires pass away, but
the man who does the will
of God lives forever.
Stop loving this evil
world and all that it offers
you, for when you love the
world, you show that you
do not have the love of the
Father in you. For the
world offers only the lust
for physical pleasure, a lust
for everything we see, and
pride in our possessions.
These are not from the
Father. They are from this
evil world. And this world
is fading away, along with
everything it craves. But if
you do the will of God,
you will live forever.
When we love the world and the things in it, our priorities are worldly. Worldly priorities are
characterized by three attitudes: “the cravings of sinful man”—preoccupation with gratifying
physical desires; “the lust of his eyes”—bowing to the god of materialism; and “boasting of
what he has and does”—obsession with one’s status or importance. By contrast, God values
self-control, a spirit of generosity, and a commitment to humble service. We must take a hard
look at our lives to align our priorities with God’s.
3. Why are the things of the world so desirable?
4. How do Jesus’ priorities differ from the world’s?
L E S S O N 2 10
5. How can we guard against having worldly priorities?
6. What desire or habit has recently interfered with your commitment
to God?
James 4:4-6
Ye adulterers and
adulteresses, know ye
not that the friendship of
the world is enmity with
God? whosoever therefore
will be a friend of the
world is the enemy of
God. Do ye think that the
scripture saith in vain,
The spirit that dwelleth in
us lusteth to envy? But he
giveth more grace. Wherefore
he saith, God
resisteth the proud, but
giveth grace unto the
humble. K J V
You adulterous
people, don’t you know
that friendship with the
world is hatred toward
God? Anyone who
chooses to be a friend of
the world becomes an
enemy of God. Or do you
think Scripture says without
reason that the spirit
he caused to live in us
envies intensely? But he
gives us more grace. That
is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the
humble.” N I V
You adulterers!
Don’t you realize that
friendship with this
world makes you an
enemy of God? I say it
again, that if your aim is
to enjoy this world, you
can’t be a friend of God.
What do you think the
Scriptures mean when
they say that the Holy
Spirit, whom God has
placed within us, jealously
longs for us to be
faithful? He gives us
more and more strength
to stand against all
such evil desires. As the
Scriptures say, “God
sets himself against the
proud but he shows favor
to the humble.” N L T
11 L E S S O N 2
God wants us to enjoy a pleasurable life, but at the same time he warns against seeking
worldly pleasures. Pleasures that cause us to compromise God’s standards are wrong. If your
main priority in life is to enjoy all the world has to offer, you will not have time to actively
seek God and his will for your life. But if you choose to make God your first priority, he will
give you true joy that is greater than any worldly pleasure!
7. What do you think it means to become a friend of the world?
8. How can we tell the difference between helpful and harmful
9. How can we guard against giving temporary pleasures high priority
in our lives?
10. What distracts or prevents you from giving God free reign in all of
your life?
L E S S O N 2 12
John 16:20, 22, 33
Verily, verily, I say
unto you, That ye shall
weep and lament, but the
world shall rejoice: and ye
shall be sorrowful, but
your sorrow shall be turned
into joy. . . . And ye now
therefore have sorrow: but
I will see you again, and
your heart shall rejoice,
and your joy no man
taketh from you. . . . These
things I have spoken unto
you, that in me ye might
have peace. In the world ye
shall have tribulation: but
be of good cheer; I have
overcome the world.
I tell you the truth,
you will weep and mourn
while the world rejoices.
You will grieve, but your
grief will turn to joy. . . .
Now is your time of grief,
but I will see you again
and you will rejoice, and
no one will take away
your joy. . . . I have told
you these things, so that
in me you may have peace.
In this world you will
have trouble. But take
heart! I have overcome
the world.
Truly, you will weep
and mourn over what is
going to happen to me,
but the world will rejoice.
You will grieve, but
your grief will suddenly
turn to wonderful joy
when you see me
again. . . . You have sorrow
now, but I will see
you again; then you will
rejoice, and no one can
rob you of that joy. . . . I
have told you all this so
that you may have peace
in me. Here on earth you
will have many trials and
sorrows. But take heart,
because I have overcome
the world.
Scripture tells believers to expect tension and trouble simply because the world’s priorities oppose
God’s purposes. Because of this tension, you will find yourself caught between desiring to live as
God would have you to and, at the same time, wanting to avoid problems with the world. Living
according to God’s priorities, however, should always win this struggle. Although it may be difficult
to live as God desires you to now—especially when you are persecuted for it—you can joyfully
anticipate a peaceful and rewarding eternity with him later.
11. What did you have to give up when you accepted Christ? What
did you gain?
12. What kind of trouble does the world cause for Christians?
13 L E S S O N 2
13. How does your hope in the future affect your priorities now?
14. If we do not experience any hardship as Christians, what does this
reveal about our priorities?
We are to reject the world’s values and priorities because they
oppose God’s. Even though this sometimes creates conflict, God promises
to bless us when we make his values and priorities our own. Choose
God’s priorities for your life. Believe that he knows what is best for you!
15. What steps can you begin to take this week to get your priorities in
line with Christ’s?
Read Matthew 5:3-10.
Jesus began his sermon with blessings and promises for those whom the world shuns. As
Jesus’ blessings and promises show, God’s priorities for living contradict the world’s. If you
want to live for God, you must be ready to say and do what seems strange to the world. You
must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others
abuse. By giving up your own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive the wonderful
blessings God has in store for you.
L E S S O N 2 14
16. How does society’s list of priorities compare and contrast with those
of God’s kingdom?
17. Which beatitude puzzles you the most?
18. In what ways can you live more by God’s priorities found in
Matthew 5:3-10 this week?
Read Matthew 19:28-30.
Jesus turned the world’s values upside down. The world tells us we deserve to have it all, even
if we have to lower our standards to get it! But Jesus tells us we have to be willing to give up
everything to obey him, even our own families. When we give up something valuable for
Christ, he tells us we will be repaid many times over. The next time you are tempted to compromise
your values, ask God to help you do what is right.
19. Which sacrifices for God’s kingdom do you find easy to make?
Which do you find difficult?
20. Why is a willingness to give up anything important in following Christ?
21. If we truly believe that God will one day reward his followers, why
are we reluctant to make sacrifices for him?
15 L E S S O N 2
Read John 17:6-19.
Christ wants his followers to be set apart and different from the world. He does not want his
followers blending in with the crowd. One thing that makes us different from unbelievers is
that we live our lives by God’s priorities. When we do so, we can expect hatred from the
world. That is because our values will be so different from those of the world that our lives will
be living accusations against the world’s immorality.
22. When have your priorities as a believer been in sharp contrast to
those of the world?
23. If you have never risked or sacrificed anything for Christ, what does
this say about your priorities?
24. How can you determine whether your priorities are the same as
Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
Paul urges believers not to form binding relationships with unbelievers because this might
weaken their Christian commitment, integrity, or standards. Paul explains that this does not
mean isolating ourselves from unbelievers. God wants us to be active in our witness for Christ,
but we should not lock ourselves into personal or business relationships that could cause us to
compromise our faith. If we feel we have to change our Christian beliefs and priorities in order
to match those of our friends, we are on dangerous ground.
25. What are some of the priorities of your closest friends? How can
you tell?
L E S S O N 2 16
26. When have you ever felt pressured by a friend to compromise your
27. What steps can you take to become a friend who builds up others
17 L E S S O N 2


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