This whole chapter is about how we (followers of Jesus) are to be in the world and not of it. This bible study is going to be spent going in detail with examples on how this looks. This is by no means meant to offend anyone; its just a means to lay out some hard truths we need to be aware of if we want to truly live life as being in the world, but not of it. This was Jesus’ prayer for us. That we wouldn’t be removed from the world, but instead we would be protected in the world; be in it but not of it. This way we can go out and spread the gospel into the world but be protected in Him in the process. The lost need His word.
What does this mean to be in the world but not of it? Well, though we are in the world (meaning we live here on earth), we do not function the way the world does. We don’t live our lives by worldly standards we live it according to God and His will for us and His word. Let’s dive deep into this with some examples.
A doctor can diagnose someone with facts based off of circumstances in science, and those who live according to the world will probably accept that diagnoses and adjust their lives to it. A follower of Jesus should go to His word on the situation. Im not saying ignore the dr, I'm simply saying put faith in His word, over the diagnoses. In His word one would see that by His stripes we are healed and therefore choose fight in faith to keep that healing over the body and beleive in His word rather than the medical facts. Truth trumps facts if you can align your faith with it. They have to choose to receive according to His will not the worlds and fight to have the endurance to fight for it. This may not be an overnight thing which is why we have to have endurance. We live in a fallen world that decays as days go by because of the curse. But though we live in the world we don’t have to accept the curse in our lives. We can choose to receive according to His will and not the cures. We have the choice to make and then we need the faith and endurance to see it come to pass. Im not saying to be rude or disregards doctors in any way, listen to their knowledge and advice but don’t allow that to be the truth and final word in the situation.
Lets do another example. The world may say its wise to have 401ks and savings; now these are not bad things to have by any means, they are great tools. However, it shouldn’t be assumed its Gods plan for all of His followers to live this way, He may have different outlets for some of us. We should instead seek Him and ask Him what it is that He would have us do financially. For some He may appoint 401ks, for others, that might pull them away from His calling on their lives. The point is we shouldn’t base our decisions off of worldly advice, that would be living in the world and being of it. We should always seek Him first for what to do, that makes the difference on being of the world verses not being of the world.
Lets do one more example to really hammer it in, this time in the area of finance. Lets say two neighbors both loose their jobs. Lets say they both happen to have the same amount of money in their severance packages and their situations are pretty identical financially only their beliefs are different. One neighbor is an atheist and one is a christian. The atheist seeks a financial advisor and is advised of a plan on what to do financially. The atheist then shares this information with the christian, who feels the advice is wise and decided to implement it to himself as well. What’s the problem here? The christian never seeked God on how to handle the situation, he acted in the same manner the atheist did and went straight to “how would the world handle this?” Now, God could have led the christian to the same means but the point is to seek first Him, not the world for answers.
Its also important to know that if choose to be in the world but not of it, we need to make sure we use spiritual discernment towards worldly things. When we mirror the world it dulls our spiritual senses and makes it hard to discern the voice of God from the enemy. Jesus looked nothing like the world when He walked it and thats why the pharisees and religion fought against Him, He mirrored something that was foreign to them, God. Im not saying be legalistic, Im not saying don’t have nice things; I’m saying don’t want or dwell over materialistic or worldly things, keep your mind on heavenly things. Don’t allow the heart to be focused on worldly things. Its all on the heart posture and the motive. Motive shows the heart intent, we don’t want our hearts set on worldly things we want it set on Jesus.
Its also important to protect our senses from worldly things. The eyes and ears and gateways to the soul, we should be mindful what we allow ourselves to watch and listen too. Seeds are sew, good or bad, when we watch or listen to things. Its wise to ask God what we should be allowing ourselves to take in. Again, this isn’t being legalistic, its merely doing what’s best to edify ones soul. Just because some things are bad doesn’t mean they edify the soul, seek God on if their are things in your life that need to be removed. I challenge everyone reading this to take this next week to seek God on all areas of your life and ask Him if anything is interfering with you being in the world but not of it. Allow Him to prune your life and rid the waste.
Remember, if one wants to receive according to His will, one needs to be in the world but not of it. You can’t be filled with the world and expect to receive heavenly outcomes. If one is of the world they will receive the curse that comes from being in a fallen world. If one wants to receive according to His kingdom ways, one needs to make sure they are in the world but not of the world!