In, but not of
From the time I first became a follower of this Jesus guy I’ve heard the phrase, “Be in the world, but not of the world.” It’s a thought gained from some verses in the bible. Praying to the Father Jesus said, “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.” (John 17:15-16).
John notes, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them” (1John 2:15.)
Cool phrase and thought, but what does that look like? Do we completely tune out the things of this world and live in our own little Christian bubble? Absolutely not! That’d be impossible. For sure there are some things we know we need to let go of and avoid. For a quick hit list read Galatians 5:19. Paul mentions things like hatred, jealousy, drunkenness, and envy.
But what about things that aren’t necessarily sins? Is it okay to enjoy stuff like football, creating things with your hands, watching Netflix, or kids soccer games? Recently some friends went on a road trip to the races. I’ve recently learned it's something they are passionate about and have been for some time. However, now they have a child. When they posted pictures of the races I noticed there were more pictures of the child than of the races. Interestingly enough when there were pics of the cars it was less about the car and more about their child in the car!
For me this is a great illustration of "In, but not, of." They absolutely enjoyed the races but their primary focus was the child. You see, it is okay to enjoy the things of this world that aren’t sinful but the focus in all things we do must be Jesus. When I hike my focus from the beauty of creation to seeing His hand in the beauty of creation. It is a shift from time alone to time alone with Him.
We must measure our ‘in but not of’ life. It’s okay to be in the world but we must remember our first love.
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Rob Jeffrey, Pastor - Bradford Alliance Church