January 22, 2015

In Not Of

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 22, 2015

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:16-18

It is somewhat surreal to think and reassuring to know—one day I will awake, not in this world, but in heaven. But in the meantime, I am left with a mission from God to stay engaged in secular society. My role is not to be spiritually sterilized by modern mores that miss Christ’s heart, but to fertilize faith in God. The easier route is to check out of culture and check in exclusively with Christians. But I miss advertising Jesus if I stay secluded from society. Like a thermostat regulates a room’s temperature, so my engagement in life can keep warm the culture’s conversation about God.

Jesus describes to His disciples this ongoing tension of being an influencer for good while not being influenced by bad. Sin does not need to be experienced to know it’s harmful. Thus, the task of these early followers of Jesus was to bring faith in God to a godless society. Not just faith in God, but faith in God through His son Jesus Christ. Their divine mission was to live  and proclaim the gospel, so believers of the good news changed for good, and thus, the culture changed for good. The disciples remained in the world so the world would embrace its Savior.

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage” (Matthew 5:13, The Message).

You are called to be salt and light for your savior Jesus. Does your life in Christ engage other lives for Christ? Or, are you so worldly minded you’ve lost your influence for the Lord? If a person’s behavior becomes better when they are around you—you’re salt. If they respect and love God, because you respect and love God—you’re light. If your workplace values reflect the values of your heavenly Father—you’re so tasty. If followers of Jesus leveraged their circle of influence for Christ there would be a revolution of righteousness. Use your influence for God!

This ongoing tension of being in the world, but not of the world keeps us dependent on Jesus. Indeed, He prays for us to walk this fine line of being and doing. Without these two pressure points, we would drift through life self-reliant and ineffective in eternity. It’s from of our time spent with the Lord that we understand how to spend our time with people. Invite the world into our world requires trust. When we take our world into the world, it requires radical trust. Christ compounds our faith investments into the fruit of saved souls and changed lives. Be in—not of!

“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Corinthians 9:19).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the wisdom to understand the balance of being in the world, but not of the world.

Related Readings: 1 Corinthians 9:20-23; 2 Corinthians 10:2-3; Colossians 4:6; 1 John 2:15-17, 4:1-9

Post/Tweet this today: It’s from of our time spent with the Lord, that we understand how to spend our time with people. #innotof #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: 4 minute music video, Matthew West: Strong Enough

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