Be ye separate

Be ye separate from the world

The Christian, while in the world, is not to be of the world. He should be distinguished from it in the great object of his life. To him, “to live,” should be “Christ.” Whether he eats, or drinks, or whatever he does, he should do all to God’s glory. . . And you should be separate from the world in your actions. 
CH. Spurgeon -  Morning and Evening (Sept 11 Morning)

I don't know about you, but I struggle with this one often. The world looks so tempting and Satan makes sure that it looks that way so we find it hard to say NO.   And to make it worse, some worldly temptations don't look that bad and we are so good at convincing ourselves that having a tiny nibble won't hurt.  But it is like nibbling at a chocolate bar, after the first nibble you put it down, then say "perhaps just a little more" and before you know it, you have eaten the entire bar of chocolate.  Afterwards you feel pretty sick inside, suffering from regrets and perhaps feeling guilty. Mingling in the world can give you these feelings too.

Another reason why I sometimes struggle with this is because I see people who confess to being a Christian but doing things that are worldly.  After a while, I being to wonder if perhaps I am being to strict on myself and think "if they, as Christians, can do these things, perhaps its ok".  The fact is, it often isn't and those who call themselves Christians, may in fact being acting very unchristian. 

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. 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 John 2:15-16

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  1. Jo, this is something I find interesting, the whole topic of separation.

    Firstly, I think it is not something that is very popular and is not taught in churches these days. We have the extremes of the Amish and others to compare with those who, as you say are no different to any person walking down the street. This makes it very difficult.

    In some ways, the Lord was no different when He was down here than any other Jew walking the streets of Israel, I mean He didn't have a halo or wings or a shining white coat, so there was no obvious difference, but it was His way of "thinking" that was so different to the rulers and leaders of His time.

    While modesty is very important and can mean that we "look" different to others, it shouldn't (in my opinion) be something that makes us look peculiar.

    What should be different is our way of living, our language, our goals, our motives. And that can be very obvious to those around us! Should this concern us? I don't think so! But it can...

    So we have to weigh things up - is it important to us to be like everyone else? Not noticed in any respect from the crowds we deal with each day? Or should we quietly, without fanfare be different? And stick to our differences?

    There is much that is attractive to us in the world, but as we were reading the other night in our Bible study (hubby and I), as Christians we need to count the cost - Luke 14 v 33 (also v 28-32) - following Christ WILL have a cost - are we willing to pay that cost?

    We hear of those in middle Eastern countries who are killed, persecuted and thrown out of their home countires for THEIR faith - life is too easy in this country! We can too easily mingle in and not be noticed! Is this what He wants?

  2. This is a major problem in the world today - people who follow God's Word and actually separate themselves are few and far between. It is NOT AT ALL popular and it is rarely taught in the churches - in fact, most preachers (or whatever they want to call themselves) don't know how to be separate themselves, so they can hardly expect their congregation to be separate!

    We live in such apathetic times, it's truly tragic. We might not have government or other enemies beating us or burning us at the stake... no, the kind of attacks of the enemy are subtle in our corner of the world - it's a way of thinking that creeps in and grows until it becomes a part of our lives and we don't even realise it. And it's the same thing with being set apart or separate. I think some Christians or so-called Christians either don't care, or don't KNOW that they aren't being separate. Others think that by being separate in ONE thing, they can do what they like in other areas of their life. I think others don't even understand what the Bible says on the matter because they don't WANT to understand or they haven't bothered looking into it, or they think it was ok in Bible times but not for us today (they think being separate is old-fashioned). And like Bets said, many people are not willing to pay the price of being different - because it DOES come at a price.

    I agree that we are not to purposely go around dressing in weird ways that draw attention to ourselves like Bets said, but there is a point at which we will stick out from the crowd - and should! For example, the modesty issue - if we go to the beach in the middle of summer and everyone else is wearing a bikini, we SHOULD stick out like a sore thumb in our modest attire!! Because if we didn't, that would mean we compromised too far. Another one to do with clothing - if the fashion includes long and modest clothing that doesn't suit our tastes (perhaps is drab) or we don't think they are feminine enough, should we buy the drab clothing just so we don't stick out in a crowd, or is it ok to stick to our modest, feminine, pretty clothes? I think sometimes in order to be who we believe God wants us to be, we WILL stick out.

    A lot of the difference between ourselves and others should be very quiet things though - a clean mouth (no swearing or blasphemy), quiet and sober behaviour (not loud and showy), humility rather than pride... and so on.

    Very thought-provoking subject, Jo! Thanks for the food for thought! :)

  3. Yes so true...I think sometimes I struggle with am I being too legalistic. Separate...yes

  4. Separate....yes. They should know whose we are by the LOVE we have for one another. Some things are clearly legalistic, some things are clearly forbidden and in some things there is liberty. We have to find that balance and not judge more harshly than we ought.

  5. I agree with you Jo.
    We are to be separate - set apart - and 'different'.
    Not through spiritual pride or vanity but by love for God and neighbour.
    How can we show them the unique beauty of the Lord, if we look and act just like the world?
    Balance is good..but better when the scales tip slightly more heavenward ;-)

  6. Clara/Bets - when i was thinking about this topic I wasn't thinking of the Amish type seperate - but living in the world but not being part of it. That is where it becomes very difficult at times. Knowing when to say no and when to be involved. I certainly struggle with this.

    And Clara - I agree with the clothing, we shouldn't stand out, both in "wild" clothing nor with outfits that look completely drab.

    Bets - I see a Christain life as one without fanefair, we shouldn't be waving our arms in the air and saying "look at me, I'm living a Christain life" - rather living quietly (and that doesnt no fun!).


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