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In The World…But Not Of It!..
Recognize The Worldly
It is hard to recognize the worldly, let alone shun it, if the lines are so blurred that we assimilate, embrace or imbibe it without reservation or thought.
Our call is to be …in the world but ‘not of the world.’
Jesus prayed, ‘I do not pray that You should take them out of the world,
but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world,
just as I am not of the world’. (John 7:15-16 NIV)
One of the ‘offenses’ of Christianity to the world is that it is light and life-giving…
The context in which the Prophet Isaiah relayed the promise of the coming Messiah, in Isaiah 9, is that the kingdom was split in two, Judah and Israel. Israel created an alliance with Syria to defeat Assyria and threatened Judah with annihilation through war if they did not join the alliance.
It illustrates that bullying, manipulation, intimidation and deception are not new to the scene. However, they have permeated our society so deeply and thoroughly that they appear to be interwoven into its very fabric. They are ever present in school, business, personalities, development, relationships, family dynamics, politics, entertainment, advertising, marketing, social interactions, social media, and even religion, denominations and church.
The threat of rejection, abandonment and exclusion come with a mindset that has become popular. It says that if you don’t look like me, think like me, act like me, do what I think you should do or join my team then I have to make you. If I can’t convince you then I’ll shame you. If I can’t do that, then I’ll ostracize you. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll punish you. And if none of that works I will alienate you or better yet I will convince others of your unworthiness to be part of the group and they will deny you. This creates a lonely place and a destructive trap. The pressure can be so debilitating and convincing that we give in. The compromise begins, we take on the ways of the world and we give up being a light shining in the world. The light is gradually diminished one concession at a time.
Know this, ‘All the darkness in the world cannot put out a single light’ – anonymous.
The promise relayed by the Prophet Isaiah includes assurance that ‘God is with us” which translated into Hebrew is ‘Immanuel’, the name the Savior was to be called. Judah did not join the alliance and a remnant did escape the war. God was with them.
As a Christian, a believer in Christ, we must remember that ‘God is with us.’ The light that shines in us cannot be stolen. No matter how severe the threat or how intense the pressure, the light is a bright and powerful gift that cannot be taken away by anything of this world. The light is only diminished if it is given away through compromise or sin, embracing the ways of the world or abandoning the faith.
Pray for clarity on how to retain the light and know the difference between the ways of the world and the ways of the Lord. The answers are in God’s Word, the Bible, our road map and compass, not in what has become socially acceptable.
We are in the world but not of it… Identify and address the places you have become ‘of the world’ instead of being in it?