In the world, but not of the world


Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(1 John 2:35)

There is something I have been pondering of late and something all Christian think about - and that is, the difficult task of being a Christian who is living in this world but trying hard to remain separate from this world

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 
(Romans 12:2)

This is tough and certainly one that I have struggle with more times than I would like to admit. There is a fine line between mingling with this fallen world on a daily basis (as one does when they go off to work) and not getting caught up worldly activities that look very attracting and inviting but quickly drag you downwards away from Christ. The world is always calling (Satan is very convincing), wanting us to join in. But like a bag of lollies, one is never enough. After one lolly, you say to yourself, "I might have another, it won't hurt me, its only one more" and before long you are heading head first into the world and all its temptations. Its like being caught in a spider web.

Whosoever therefore will be a friend 
of the world is the enemy of God.
(James 4:4)

We can completely isolate ourselves and have very little to do with the world (be a hermit) or continue to participate in the world but remain separation. 

We are not asked to become hermits or move into a monastery, cutting ourselves off from the world and in reality it is very difficult to be completely isolated from the world.  We all need to step out of our homes to go to work, to go to the shop, to visit the bank or doctor or even to go to university. God isn't asking us to live like this, isolating ourselves from ungodly influences. If we do, we are also isolating our children and they in turn will struggle to live in the world but remain separate. Nor does the bible say we can't talk to unbelievers, that we are to ignore them and not mingle in their company - we are not living the life of the Amish.  For anyone who goes off to work will know that this is impossible.

On the other hand, some want to "make a big differences in this world" and enter politics as a way of doing this. However this sort of involvement with the world does start to rub off and I can't help but think that this is not what we as Christians are called to do ("Evil company corrupts good habit." - 1 Corinthians 15:33). The world that Christians need to be concerned about is the Kingdom of Christ, not this temporal home.  It is not our job to try and make change through political reform - we can't -  God's plans and purpose are fixed. Instead it is better to let our light shine forth quietly, that others may see our good works done to glorify God. (Matthew 5:16)
Some dear believers have succumbed to the wrong notion that they must descend to this world's level in order to reach souls. Instead of being "transformed by the renewing of your mind", they have allowed themselves to be "conformed to this world....Thus we find many believers today getting into politics and other forms of help for this world, using their energies in that direction. Needless to say, those who work with this world must lower themselves to its principles; thus their testimony is diluted, and their spiritual discernment suffers as well. Such believers are not only in the world, but practically are of the world.  (from The Christian, Feb 2014 by W. J. Prost)
So how do we live in this world but remain separated from it: 

* We need to avoid extremes - isolation (hiding from the world) or immuring  ourselves in the attempt to "make a differences".

* We need to cast our eyes upon our Heavenly Father and He will sustain us.

* We need to see Christ as our Saviour and our first love and the world and all it holds as temptation and like lollies, will cause us great pain.

* We need to recognise the immense power of God and who we are sinning against.

* We need to have self control and learn to look away from temptation and lust.

* We need to stand firm and do all things for the glory of God.

* We need to have joyful obediences in God's Word.

* We need to stay away from false teachings.

* We need to understand that the world's pleasures are not our pleasures. 

* We need to understand that God's plan and purpose is set, we cannot change it.

* We need to make careful choices when making friends, bad friends can lead us astray,  dragging us away from God and putting us in danger. Likewise we need to pray for friends and family that are walking the same path as us who are there when we might stray and put back onto the right path. 

* We need to pray constantly for wisdom and guidances.

* We need to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ at all times.

* We need to understand that we are not alone, God is with us every step of the way. 

* We need to amour ourselves with the Word of God - insulating ourselves but not isolating ourselves

* And we need to read the Word of God daily - medicate on scripture.

It is with His Words (our armour) that allows us to walk through world and not become part of the world.

I do not pray that You should take them 
out of the world, but that
 You should keep them 
from the evil one. 

(John 17:15)

****

Comments

  1. Beautiful sentiments. The Kingdom of Heaven lies within, no outside forces can infiltrate an awakened soul. We are all connected in this universe, and we must spread the word. Lovely to be here. Aloha

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  2. And I love your Pooh picture above. I'm gonna use that one myself!

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    Replies
    1. I'm a big fan of Winnie and Pooh, he often has very wise words to say!!!

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  3. Beautiful sentiments. The Kingdom of Heaven lies within, no outside forces can infiltrate an awakened soul. We are all connected in this universe, and we must spread the word. Lovely to be here. Aloha

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  4. A wonderful post. It is such a delicate balance, living in our world and all the while staying within our spirit.

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    Replies
    1. It is such a delicate balance and I think that's why it is so easy to fall off. But knowing how to get back up is the answer.

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  5. Hello, I am not sure if I could add anything to this list!
    I prayed this prayer in our prayer room on Sunday, and it was the quote, may we not be islands in the stream, we are not to be called to a life alone, just set apart.
    Have a good week friend!
    Blessings, Roxy

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    Replies
    1. Its so true - how do we spread God's word if we are all hermits.

      Have a lovely week:)

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  6. You've made some great points here. Sometimes I think I live in a bit of a hermitish way because I don't like to go shopping and I homeschool. It's a time in my life. There's so much I need to do at home including homeschooling.

    Blessings,
    Laura

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps schedule in time once a month to go on a school outing - its gets you all out of the house, its educational and fun!!

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  7. This title immediately grabbed me! I remember a few years ago a minister giving a sermon on this very subject.
    He basically said - it can be too easy for Christians to try and hide and see it as not being "of" the world when actually they aren't being "in" the world either.
    Its so important to remember that if we have no connections outside of Christians that we can't be an example of Christ either! :-)

    I like what you've written :-)

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    Replies
    1. Very true - hiding away is never the answer and I think it is so important for those parents who homeschool to not do this as its a real disadvantage to their children.

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