“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” said John. “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.” (1 Jn. 2:15–16.)
The encroachment of the world into our lives is threatening! How hard it seems for many of us to live in the world and yet not of the world.
Through Isaiah the word of the Lord comes:
“And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (Isa. 13:11.)
When Satan took the Lord into an exceeding high mountain, he promised, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matt. 4:9.)
“These things” were the dens of vice and areas of sin and physical gratification and lustful temptations.
Long ago the Lord made his plans with great precision and announced them, saying, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39.)
His further words: “… that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory.” (Moses 6:59.)
Now the works of the flesh are many, as given by Paul: “… perilous times shall come. [They are upon us!] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, … Without natural affection … incontinent …” (2 Tim. 3:1–3), “… [with] vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another … inventors of evil things …” (Rom. 1:26, 27, 30), thieves, drunkards, extortioners.
“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.” (James 4:4.)
These are some of the ugly acts and activities that we call the world.
Just before the crucifixion, the Lord pleaded, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” (John 17:15.)
This is the prayer we continually utter, and our major effort is to see that the members of the Church are sanctified through their righteousness.
These ugly transgressions Paul called “doctrines of devils,” and their authors “seducing spirits.” (See 1 Tim. 4:1.) These distortions of the normal life have not changed in this century, except possibly to grow more vile and permissive and vulgar and degenerate.
And we plead with our people everywhere, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7.)
Our sermon is one of reaffirmation and reassurance. We urge our people to “stand in holy places.” (D&C 45:32.)
What we are saying today is not new doctrine, but as old as the day of creation.
There may be some who have a general feeling of uneasiness because of world conditions and lengthening shadows of evil, but the Lord said, “… if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30), and again, “Peace I leave with you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.)
Source: Excerpt from Spencer W. Kimball’s April 1974 General Conference address,Guidelines to Carrying Forth the Work of God in Cleanliness. Spencer W. Kimball served as the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.