“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
There is no choice for the believer but to live in this present world. As much as we would love to be away from the filth that the world perpetuates, we have to live in it. The believer cannot live in a commune or as a hermit away from the world, but we have to go in the midst of darkness every day and try to be the light in this world that they need.
The key to the verse above is the word, “live.” You have to “live” in this world. In other words, you have to work, bank, do business, and get along in this world; however, you don’t have to let this present world affect you as a believer. It is very possible for the believer to live in the world without being of the world. In the verse above, God shows the believer how to “live…in this present world.”
First, you live in this present world by refusing worldly lusts. You are going to find temptations all about you as you go through your daily life, but you must refuse these temptations through the power of the Holy Spirit. The worldly lusts are filled with promises, but they will leave you empty. Worldly lusts offers mansions, but they only give you the streets of sin and regret. You must learn to refuse the worldly lusts, for they will pull you away from the blessings of God’s Word.
Second, you live in this present world by living godly. How do you live godly in this present world? The verse above says you accomplish this by living “soberly” and “righteously.” In other words, be serious about serving the LORD. Righteousness quickly loses its appeal when you are passive about living for God but zealous about living for the lusts of the world. You can live in this world and not let the sins of the world influence you if you live soberly or seriously for the LORD. My friend, living for God is not a playground or a joke, it is life and death. You must live soberly if you want to live righteously in this present world.
Third, you live in this present world by looking for the LORD’s return. Verse 13 says, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Why must we live looking for the LORD’s return? 1 John 3:3 shows why when it says, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” When you expect the LORD to return, you will continue to purify yourself from the worldly lusts about you. You must always be ready for the LORD’s return because this will be a motivator not to accept the lusts the world offers.
Fourth, you live in this present world by being “zealous of good works.” The easiest way to avoid the lusts of the world is to stay busy serving the LORD. I have found that the busier I am serving the LORD, the less temptation I have from the world. One reason so many believers struggle with temptation is because they are not busy serving the LORD. The best way to overcome any vice, temptation or sin that easily besets you is to get busy serving the LORD. You may not have a position in your church, but you can always go soul winning and lead people to Christ. You will find that the cries of worldly lusts will become faint or extinct when you stay busy reaching the lost for Christ. If you will stay busy reaching the lost, you will find that you can live in this present world without it influencing you.