Craig M. Gay in his book The Way of the (Modern) World: Or, Why It’s Tempting to Live As If God Doesn’t Exist argues that worldliness is life severed from daily dependence upon God. In part Gay argues that worldliness is exposed whenever we grow anxiously impatient. Why? The reason is simple.
In the modern world we grow familiar with technological advancement. As the innovations multiply we are increasingly capable of controlling the world we live. Or so we think. Convinced we have harnessed some level of control, we actually become godlike, bearing a divine weight that none of us, not all of us collectively, can carry. And although we are surrounded by evidence that our techno-rational control of the world is insufficient, we are not quick to turn to God but ironically we are prone to look for further control of the world, which further roots our modern hope in technology. This in turn heaps a further weight of responsibility upon our finite shoulders.
Thus by channeling our anxious impatience into further technology we are left with an eroding theology that refuses to wait upon God. We find in the midst of technological advancement—which itself is a gift of God—that no matter how much control of the world we believe we have achieved we cannot free ourselves from anxious impatience.
In fact our anxious impatience drives us deeper into what Gay calls “the dehumanizing techniques of the modern world” (p. 310). As we praise human potential we are, in fact, praising technological advance. As we praise technology we grow increasingly impersonal. As we become increasingly impersonal we become incapable of trusting in anyone, certainly not a god. Thus the modern man finds it impossible to trust patiently in God, impossible to walk by faith and not sight, and is found to be clutching a worldview that is not nourished by a healthy anticipation of Christ’s return. Our anxious impatience in the modern world is a signal that (to some degree) we have given up on our faith and trust in God and no longer patiently anticipate His timing.
Please do not misunderstand. Technology is not itself sinful or wrong. I believe technology is a gift of God’s common grace. However when we find ourselves growing impatient and anxious in this world we should be concerned that our appreciation for technology has overstepped its role and has displaced God. Anxious impatience is a signal that we seek to control our world and our own lives. Thus when anxious impatience appears in our hearts, it should be truthfully interpreted as a manifestation of God-ignoring worldliness. Only by grace and a firm faith in God can we be freed from the anxious impatience of the modern world.