“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
As I wrote yesterday, far too many Christians become influenced by the world. Like metal left outside begins to rust because of its environment, Christians allow the world to impact their thinking and their behavior. We no longer stand out from the world, but we look just like the world.
But, the Christian dare not look just like the world. As He prayed the night before His death, Jesus declared, “They [His disciples] are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). God desires His people to come out from the world, lest they be tainted by society: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty’” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
A tall order. How can the Christian go about separating himself from the world?
- Know what behaviors are from the world.We don’t need to look very far, for God has told us: “All that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16). Any behavior which derives from the flesh, the eyes, or the pride of life (pride in possessions) is from the world.
- Remember how temporary this world is.“The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). Why ever would you wish to live a temporary life when you can abide forever?
- Take a careful look at how you live.“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Do your thoughts, your speech, and you actions show you are of the world or of God?
- Take care about what you put in your mind.“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). What do your entertainment choices say about you – what TV programs do you watch, what music do you choose, and what books do you read? Be careful about what you put in your heart, lest your heart lead you the way of the world.
- Prepare yourself for ridicule.“The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you” (1 Peter 4:3-4). People will malign you when they see your different conduct. Don’t let that surprise you, but prepare your heart to stand fast in the face of such opposition.
Be different. Stand out. Let your light shine that men glorify your heavenly Father for your good works.
Until tomorrow, be blessed!