Why is God grieved by worldliness, or how does worldliness keep us from inner solitude with God? Here are five different passages of scripture that will give us the answers:
1. from Luke 8:14. According to this parable of Jesus’, the cares, riches and pleasures of this life are like thorns that will choke the Word of God in us so that we cannot produce fruit. God is grieved by this because that is our purpose—to bear fruit (Jn. 15:16). Therefore, when we fail to fulfill our purpose in life we cannot have the intimate fellowship with Him that He desires of us.
2. from Matthew 6:25. Since the whole system of this evil world teaches us not to believe in God or trust in Him, but to place our security in material things, when we become entrapped by these things we worry when we loose a job or when gas prices go up. How God must be grieved by this. He wants us to trust in Him for everything and commit everything to Him in prayer. This lack of trust is a huge hindrance to our inner solitude with God.
3. from 1 Timothy 6:6-10. Worldliness teaches us not to be content with our necessary food and clothing, but to pursue great riches. If we take this worldly path our solitude with God will certainly be destroyed. Verses 9-10 says, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
4. from 1 John 2:15-16. When Christians let themselves get entangled in the things of this world they love the world. According to these verses, when we love the world, God’s love does not remain in us; He separates Himself from us and is grieved by our sin.
I am not saying that God stops loving us or that He takes away His presence from us completely so that we are no longer saved. He loves us even when we sin. But when a believer entangles himself in the world he is acting like a nonbeliever who loves the world; therefore his unbelief prevents him from receiving and experiencing God’s love. God is grieved with this person’s worldliness and there can be no true fellowship there, and no peaceful solitude.
Some would disagree with what I am saying here. They would say that no true Christian can really love the world, that it is the character of a Christian to not love the world. However, since John is writing to believers (1 Jn. 2:1, 7, 12-14) and telling them “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” I conclude from this that it is possible for believers to love the world. For if it was not possible for true believers to love the world then why would John have instructed them not to?
Yes, it is definitely possible for believers to become entangled (at least somewhat entangled) in the world and to fall in love with it. And so let it be a warning to all of us not to go the way of the world.
5. from 2 Timothy 2:3-4. Here Paul instructs Timothy that as a soldier of Jesus Christ he should not entangle himself with the affairs of this life, so that he may please God who has enlisted him as a soldier.
Becoming entangled in the ways of this world is always a hindrance to Christian faith and it displeases God. There is nothing more grievous and painful in a relationship than to know that the person you want to get to know and love is displeased with you. And it goes both ways. If we are in the world and love the world we are saying to God that we are displeased with Him and His ways; and so He is grieved with us too.
But if you want your relationship with God to be closer, if you want to feel His love and presence, all you have to do is confess your sins and come to Him. Give up your sins and draw near to Him—and He will draw near to you. And if you feel hopelessly entrenched and entangled in the world, don’t worry, just go to Him and tell Him about it—and He will pull you out of the world’s snare and into His arms of love.
This is another excerpt from Joy of Prayer.