“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
-1 John 2: 15-17
We are to be IN the world, not OF the world. If you’re like me, you’ve heard this statement many times before, but what exactly does it mean for us believers? First of all, it’s easier said than done, isn’t it! When we believe in God, sin has no power over us. When we follow Christ, it changes our hearts and we should become less interested in the things of this world and have more desire to be like Jesus. Over the next couple weeks we are going to talk about how we can submerge ourselves into the world and yet hold our ground. Today let’s talk about the people that surround us. Why are we here on earth? We are here to serve God and lead others to him. Paul’s ministry tells us that we are to make ourselves a slave to everyone, to win as many unbelievers as possible. To find a common ground, to not have a self-righteous attitude, to make others feel accepted, be compassionate to their needs and problems, and to live a life that looks different than theirs. The trap here for many believers is when we make these people our core people. Now, please understand me. I’m not saying we can’t be friends with unbelievers. God encourages us to be! But the concern is inviting them into our inner circle. In 2 Corinthians 6: 14 it says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” I think it even goes deeper than unbelievers. We need to remember that believing in God is way different than living a life that glorifies God and having a relationship with Him. Knowing that, we must choose our core people wisely. So let’s take a look at the people in your life. Who are you with your friends? Do you change who you are when hanging out with different groups of people? Do you change your morals, values, language, television and movie tastes, etc.? God tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” What do you do with the people closest to you in life? You share who you are and you seek advice and wisdom. Let’s look at a few verses that God explains to us the damage this can cause.
“A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
“Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips.” Proverbs 14:7.
In your walk with the Lord, how are you being IN the world, but not OF the world? Are there any changes that you need to make? Talk to God about that right now.
Heavenly Father, as I immerse myself into the world, help me to keep a strong foundation. In 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14, your word says, “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” Through you, help me to be all those things with the people I surround myself with. Amen.