How to be in this World but Not of It – Representing Godly Behavior
As Christians this is a balance we are constantly trying to juggle.
We are called to put God at the forefront of everything!
God tells us to gather together with other Christians. And we are also commanded to reach out to others who don’t know Him yet.
We are asked to work side by side with non-Christians. But at the same time remain steadfast in the commandments God has laid out for us.
All the while having families, careers, friends, ministries, activities, and to-do lists.
It can feel overwhelming at times trying to do our worldly obligations well and efficiently and still remaining rooted in Jesus Christ.
I have not always had the opportunity to work in a Christian environment, as most of us don’t. It was incredibly difficult to hold true to my faith and still participate in the job expectations. And to be honest I didn’t always balance it well. Sometimes I did it poorly.
Thankfully we have a God of incredible mercy and grace! He has shown me how to be better at representing His Godly ways, while still living in this world. And not turning away non-believers.
Jesus prays to God for us on this very subject.
John 17:13-19 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 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. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.“
I ask you to really soak that in today! Jesus prayed to God on our behalf. He prayed for our protection from the evil that surrounds us. Jesus has surrounded us with the protection of God’s word and truth so that we may lead others to God! Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice for us so that we can have eternal protection!
Remain strong in that truth as you enter into worldly situations and activities.
Know Your Boundaries
1 John 2:16 For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world.
We each have areas of our lives that are weak spots and can cause us to stumble if we are not careful. Take the time to know what weaknesses you have that could be a way for the devil to distract you. It could be gossip, alcohol, gambling, food, sexual desires, cussing, violent/graphic images, etc.
For example, alcohol is not a source of weakness for me. It is not difficult or problematic for me to meet friends at a bar for a social gathering. I don’t struggle with self-control in this area and am able to represent myself in an appropriate manner.
Now, food, however, is a source of weakness for me. I have always loved sweets! It is an area that self-control can waver significantly if I am not careful. So situations that include dinner outings, parties, and/or holiday get-togethers, I know that I have to guard myself to not be tempted and over-indulge in a way that is unbecoming to God.
As this is an area that I have continually struggled with, so I chose to give up added sugar in January 2017.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
So by choosing to completely abstain from sugar it has taken away the temptation in that area and allowed me to continue to be able to engage with others during social gatherings.
For some, complete abstinence from your weakness may not be necessary. But take a genuine look at the areas of temptation and weakness in your life that may be stopping you from representing Godly behaviors as a Christian.
Represent Godly behavior well!
Let’s go back to my example about alcohol. If I am in a situation where others around me are choosing to get drunk, I do not become judgmental or critical of them. This is not the time or place to start quoting scripture about drunkenness.
That will only push others away.
I will, however, care for someone who may need it. Later, I will talk with that person gently and in love about my concerns for them. Gently and without judgment.
Please do not use any form of the phrase “You are going to be damned to Hell if you don’t…”
I have worked with non-Christian clients who have been told this by Christian friends and family. Understandably, it has turned them off even further from knowing, trusting, and believing in God.
We are, however, called to represent the fruit of the spirit characteristics to all we encounter. We are to meet others exactly where they are in the moment with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These Godly characteristics shine His light in your own heart as well as the hearts of others you are encountering.
What to strive for!
2 Corinthians 1:12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.
If I am to boast anything, this is what I want to boast about! I want to care for others in the holiness and sincerity of God. I want others to feel comfort and love in my presence that is beyond what I am humanly capable of on my own. My prayer is that people walk away from me wondering how I am able to have joy and love in the midst of everyday chaos! And I will be more than willing to share that message with them when they are ready!
My sincere prayer for you today is that this post meets you exactly where you are as well! I hope that you find encouragement in God’s word and tips from mine to help you live in this world but not be of it!
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