"They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." John 17:14
This past weekend spent time with my daughter and our conversation turned to the topic of being in the world but not of the world. Ill share what that topic was later, but first let's define what exactly is "the world."
Several years ago, there was an article in Decision magazine written by the late Billy Graham. In it, Dr. Graham said there are at least three meanings attached to the word "world." Here are the three meanings he stated.
"First, the Bible says there is the created world. God…made the world and everything in it." (Acts 17:24)
Second, there are the inhabitants of the world, whom God loves and for whom Christ died. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…" (John 3:16)
Third, there is the cosmos, the world system, which is headed by Satan and based upon self, greed and pride. This is the world that God warns about and it is this world system and philosophy that Christians are to shun and remain free from." (Billy Graham, "In the World, Not of it," Decision; January 28, 2016)
This third meaning of the world system is what our conversation was centering on. We have seen plenty of selfishness, greed, and pride in recent days. Others should see us living a life that brings glory to God alone and not to self or others. But how do we be like Jesus in a world system that constantly opposes what we believe? How do we live godly lives in an ungodly world?
We see in scripture that Jesus did it and as believers we have the same Spirit of God in us. Therefore, we can be in the world and not of it too, but it will be difficult.
The Bible calls for us to separate from the world. And here lies the struggle that my daughter was dealing with. Just how far do we separate?
Most of us have probably seen a movie that we know we should not have watched or one that we wish we had not seen. This is the dilemma that my daughter was struggling with. Should she expose her children to see and hear things that do not bring glory to God?
Everyone is doing it. We want to belong to the group. But the group is doing something that we know we should not participate in. A few of her friends were going to watch a movie with all their children and asked for my daughter and her children to join them. The movie had views that conflicted with her Christian beliefs.
This seems like a simple decision but, in reality, we face these types of decisions every day. Our friends, our family, and even those we do not know are watching us. What do they see in our daily life? Do they see that we are different from the cosmos of the world? Do they see us making prayer and daily time with God a priority? Do they see godly wisdom in our decisions?
Billy Graham's explanation of the 3 different definitions for world can help us learn to separate from the world of self, greed and pride and, instead, focus on the world of caring for each other. My daughter made the decision not to watch the movie with her friends. Take a stand for what is good and right in the eyes of God…other people are watching.
1. What was going through your mind as you read this blog? Perhaps it was a poor decision you made. What is one thing you can do now to not repeat that decision?
2. Do you have an experience you could share with us and encourage a sister in Christ to stand for what is good and right in the sight of the Lord? If so, please share in the comments.
3. Read John 17:20-26. Jesus prayed this for all believers. Knowing what Jesus prayed for you, how will this help you in making decisions so when others look at your life, they know that you are following Jesus.