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Worldly Customs, Maxims, Fashions and Practices


Inspired counsel tells us clearly that we are to stand in opposition to the customs, practices, maxims and habits of the world.

As the truth is brought into practical life, the standard is to be elevated higher and higher, to meet the requirements of the Bible. This will necessitate opposition to the fashions, customs, practices, and maxims of the world. {FE 288.2}

In fact, we're told that conformity to the world is one of our greatest dangers.

We never needed close connection with God more than we need it today. One of the greatest dangers that besets God's people has ever been from conformity to worldly maxims and customs. {CG 471.2}

If there is such danger in worldly conformity, we must be able to identify what these things are that we need to avoid, and oppose. What is a maxim? It's a rule of conduct. What are customs? They are habits, practices, behaviors, etc. A worldly custom or maxim would include the general practices, habitual conduct of non-Christians which have a counterpart in biblical behavior. We should be able to ask ourselves at every step, is this practice something that has a right and a wrong side?

Satan is continually seeking to overcome the people of God by breaking down the barriers which separate them from the world. {GC88 508.2}

While customs, maxims and practices certainly include more than our appearance, for the sake of this article, we will be addressing this aspect. Worldly maxims definitely include fashion.

Will you educate them to meet the standard of the world, to do as the world does, to practice the maxims [of], and to follow the fashions of, this degenerate age, which are ever changing, and its mouth is always swallowing money, money, money? {1SAT 264.2}

Our outward visible appearance, the clothing and various adornment and enhancements we do to our bodies, faces, hair, nails, etc. can all be involved in worldly customs and practices. The Holy Spirit is willing to show us which of these are worldly, and which are godly. If it passes the test as a godly custom, it will bring ultimate glory to God, and not to self.

Worldly customs are tools in Satan's hand to keep us in the slavery of sin.

Their conformity to worldly customs holds them in captivity to Satan, the god of this world. "His servants ye are to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey." {RH, December 6, 1881 par. 15}

The bondage of worldly habits and customs is so pleasing to the natural heart that it has become well-nigh universal. Few can be found who are willing to deny self that they may walk in the light of Heaven. {RH, June 20, 1882 par. 15}

Our separation from the world is to be clear cut.

We are called to be the Lord's special people in a much higher sense than many have realized. The world lies in wickedness, and God's people are to come out of the world, and be separate. They are to be free from worldly customs and worldly habits. They are not to accord with worldly sentiments, but are to stand out distinct, as the Lord's peculiar people, earnest in all their service. They are to have no fellowship with the works of darkness. {OFC 243.6}

By conforming entirely to the will of God, we shall be placed upon vantage ground, and shall see the necessity of decided separation from the customs and practices of the world. We are not to elevate our standard just a little above the world's standard; but we are to make the line of demarcation decidedly apparent. {FE 288.2}

The heavenly principles that distinguish those who are one with Christ from those who are one with the world have become almost indistinguishable. The professed followers of Christ are no longer a separate and peculiar people. The line of demarcation is indistinct. The people are subordinating themselves to the world, to its practices, its customs, its selfishness. {COL 315.3}

Is it a difficult thing to stay away from worldly customs?

There must be earnest, careful, persevering effort to break away from the customs, maxims, and associations of the world. Deep thought, earnest purpose, steadfast integrity, are essential. {CT 62.2}

The evil tendencies of mankind are hard to overcome. The battles are tedious. Every soul in the strife knows how severe, how bitter, are these contests. Everything about growth in grace is difficult, because the standard and maxims of the world are constantly interposed between the soul and God's holy standard . The Lord would have us elevated, ennobled, purified, by carrying out the principles underlying His great moral standard, which will test every character in the great day of final reckoning. {FLB 135.3}

If Satan succeeds in getting us to follow worldly customs, what does it do to our spirituality?

"Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Let this be your theme for both precept and example; for conformity to the world and harmony with Christ cannot be maintained. Worldly maxims and worldly practices sap spiritually from heart and life. Conformity to the world means resemblance to the world in meeting the world's standard. But how dwelleth the love of God in the soul of him who assimilates to the world? No man can serve the world and Jesus Christ at the same time. There is an irreconcilable antagonism between Christ and the world. . . The moment a professed Christian goes over the line, and follows the fashions of the world, he becomes an idolater, and a stumbling-block to sinners. {RH, January 22, 1895 par. 7}

Has God given us a warning message against following the customs of the world?

God has given us, as a people, warnings, reproofs, and cautions, on the right hand and on the left, to lead us away from worldly customs and worldly policy. He requires us to be peculiar in faith and in character, to meet a standard far in advance of worldlings. {5T 54.2}

The great work is before us of leading the people away from worldly customs and practices, up higher and higher, to spirituality, piety, and earnest work for God. It is your work to proclaim the message of the third angel, to sound the last note of warning to the world. {5T 520.1}

Are those who heed the warning looked upon favorably by those who don't?

Those who stand firm against conformity to the world, discouraging pride, superfluity, and extravagance, and enjoining humility and self-denial, are looked upon as critical, peculiar, and severe. {ST, July 13, 1882 par. 20}

What about those who call themselves Christians, but follow worldly customs?

The reason we have had so little influence upon unbelieving relatives and associates is that we have manifested little decided difference in our practices from those of the world. Parents need to awake, and purify their souls by practicing the truth in their home life. When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach, worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, strait-laced extremists. "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." {FE 289.1}

But those who wear the garb of Christianity, and yet who are governed by the fashions and maxims of the world, are moral corrupters. They claim to be seeking heavenly treasures, but the atmosphere with which their souls are surrounded is one that is charged with a deadly spiritual miasma, and they should be shunned by those who would remain unspotted by the world. {FE 298.1}

Will conformity to worldly customs eventually lead to total apostasy?

Those who have yielded step by step to worldly demands, and conformed to worldly customs, will then yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. At that time the gold will be separated from the dross. Prophets and Kings, p. 188. {ChS 157.2}

But with many who claim to be Christians there is a painful certainty that they are not progressing heavenward, but are swayed by the customs and practices of the world. . Thus they hasten to adopt the world's standard, where pride and fashion complete in them the transformation which Satan delights to see accomplished, and they become unstable as water. {CTBH 94.3}

This should be our firm determination:

The world, its customs, its fashions, will not be our standard. We shall not have a desire to conform to its practices; we shall not permit our own inclinations to control us. {AH 368.1}






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