When it comes to distinguishing Christians from the rest of the world, the lines have become slightly more blurred.
What does it actually mean to be in the world, but not of it?
Romans 12:1-2 says:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
I believe it has less to do with avoiding things, and more to do with dying to something we were never created to be in the first place.
The odds were stacked against us at the moment of conception. Every single human being is born into Adam and the fall of man. To put it more simply, we were all born into sin. We arrived into this world bearing a nature opposite of God, and with a mind desperately in need of renewal. We are consumed with self. Self being the complete and polar opposite of love.
But, there is good news. Quite literally, the Gospel means good news. We were bought with a price. A very high price. It came at the cost of Jesus sacrificing His life. I often picture the scene in my mind. I don’t believe the soldiers had to drag, push, pull, or manhandle Jesus in any way to get Him onto that tree. I believe Jesus crawled up onto the old rugged cross and stretched out His hands, waiting for the nails. That’s how much He loves us. He saw through our sin, rejection, hatred, failures, and lost identity and recognized our true potential. Our true value and worth.
Jesus didn’t die so we can chase the American Dream.
Jesus didn’t die so we can act like Heaven on Sundays, and live like Hell the rest of the week.
Jesus didn’t die so we can say a prayer and wait around for a bus ride into Heaven.
Jesus didn’t die so we can treat God like a genie in a bottle.
Jesus didn’t die so we can please our flesh.
If the only difference between us and the lost is church attendance, we are making a mockery of the Cross.
We were created to manifest the image of God. We don’t have the right to live for our self. We were bought with a price, and we are not our own. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says:
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
If we are truly dying to self, and desiring to seek righteousness above all else, we won’t want what the world has to offer. What we put our time and money into is the evidence of where our heart lies. Where our treasure resides. Are we putting more effort into the things that are seen that will wither away? Or, are we investing in the unseen, which is eternal?
2 Corinthians 4:18 says:
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
When we encounter other people, can they see Christ in us, the hope of glory? Or do they see someone just like them? Unhappy, complaining all the time, miserable, forlorn, overwhelmed with life, worried, fearful, and restless.
There needs to be something inside, demonstrated by our demeanor, language, and expressions, that sets us apart from the world. We need to show people the evidence of what we say we have. They’ve heard it all before. They want to see it in action.
Are we truly different? Let’s drop the judgmental attitudes, self-consuming pleasures, and the right to live for ourselves.
Let’s become love, demonstrate Jesus to the lost, and crush Hell for a living.