“In this world, not of this world” what exactly does this mean? It’s the Chritiannese we often speak. Does it mean we interact with the world simply to get our needs met – electricity, food, water? Does it mean we interact with non-Christians simply when we are trying to convert them?
Jesus, as always, is our example. Jesus prayed to the Father, “As you sent Me into this world, I send them.” So apparently, we are in this world as Jesus was. (As Jesus was in this world, so are we. I John 4:17b) How was Jesus in this world?
1. Sinners enjoyed hanging out with Jesus. He was invited and went to their parties. He was known as a friend of sinners. Yet Jesus never sinned and He did not approve of sin. Somehow, Jesus encouraged others to “go and sin no more,” while removing their shame & condemnation. I want to live like that.
2. Jesus lived supernaturally in the natural. He met the needs of the people around him. Whether feeding 5000, healing the sick, or freeing the demon oppressed, Jesus did good everywhere He went. He changed lives. He always left an area better than it was before his arrival. I want to live like that.
3. Jesus tore down both cultural and ethnic barriers. He was driven by the voice of the Father. He left the crowds to have an encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. He went into a Gentile nation because there was a mom grieving for her child. He taught and empowered women. I want to live like that.
How was Jesus in this world but not of this world? He lived in this world completely unencumbered by the need to please man, the need for popularity, the need to be liked. He loved and accepted people where they were while encouraging them to come and follow him. He went about doing good – healing the sick, raising the dead, touching the untouchable. He shattered cultural and ethnic barriers and demonstrated unity in both His actions and His words. I want to live like that.
So my brothers and sisters, when we get upon our high horse and declare, “We are in this world and not of this world,” let us then step down from that high horse and go and actually be in this world, yet not of it.
“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”
John 17:15-19 NASB