How to be in the World but not of the World? What a great question and we are glad you asked!
Our Command from the Bible
We are in the world but not of the world. We need to be in the world but not blend in. Because we are not of the world, the world will hate us. Do not try to be successful or significant in the world’s eyes.
This has always been confusing to me. We live here in the world and this is what we know. We have never lived in Heaven. What does it mean not to blend in? Maybe we are to be different, such that we look and act differently. Should a goal of ours be that people hate us? Should we really try to be unsuccessful at work and school? How do we survive? How does this further God’s plans?
This is not for us to figure out. Our goal is to be like Jesus and to fully obey God, and God takes care of the rest. I think it is a matter of focus and priority. Focus on Jesus and put Him first, then let His love in us overflow to others in the world. Give all glory to God. Do well at work and school as if you are working for God. These should be second priorities behind obeying God. However, work and school and the rest of our everyday life should be our unique mission for God. Some people who hate God will hate us also and persecute us, because we look like Jesus. We are not to make the sinful world look holy, but to make some people long for what we have. This allows us to lead them to Jesus. .
5 Ways to be in the World but not of the World
This is how a Christian should structure their life, in order:
1. Connect our lives to God. God has a purpose for us and He has power. Do not try to do God’s work in your own power. Anyone who has a long-lasting ministry know this.
2. God shapes our character. He wants to change everything in us, not around us. Many of our prayers are selfish- asking God to change our spouse, children, etc.
3. Have community with Christians and non-Christians. We are to be social. We are to be a witness to others. Meet with non-Christians individually and be a friend to them. Then be a witness, mostly describing your own testimony. 25% of unchurched people will accept an invitation to church if a friend invites them. We do the inviting and God does the rest.
4. Success comes when we are winning at the things most important to God.
5. Significance in the Kingdom of God.
We have to do these steps in order. If we are unintentional about following God, our Christian walk will be crooked and messy. We are to be in the world but not of the world. Don’t withdraw from the world and only huddle with other Christians. Allow God to use you to lead unbelievers to the hope and joy found in a relationship with Jesus. Show up at the party but don’t change who you are as a Christian.
Prepare to Obey God
To make great decisions we must have great resolve. This means we have prepared and made up our mind before the decision must be made. Lots of Christians want to finish well but they don’t start well.
Examples from the Bible
Daniel’s daily prayer prepared him for tough decisions. Daniel was like us, he worked and had a boss, and he was a productive employee. When Daniel was asked to do something that went against God, he said no. After Daniel came out of the lions den unharmed, he was not bitter. He pronounced life over the king and his enemies. Jesus was put in the grave, came out, and pronounced eternal life.
Joseph was so spiritually strong that he resisted temptation and endured hardship in prison for many years. In every situation he was promoted to positions of leadership. Joseph did not complain, and God was with him always.
People publically confess what they are most passionate about. The question is not if our life is preaching, but are we preaching the truth? Spend enough time in the Bible and prayer that you are most passionate about Jesus than anything else. The Holy Spirit will give you power to go public with your faith, to resist sin, to forgive, to love and to witness.