Living in and Loving the World

What Do You Think? Wednesdays

Be in the world but not of the world, we Christians are told, but to tell you the truth, I don’t always know what that looks like. I struggle with Paul’s statement that he became all things to all people to win some to Christ. What does that really mean? How did he do that? Even as I try to navigate the world system and not look like the world system, to win nonbelievers to Jesus Christ, I find myself waiting to hear step by step instructions from God. That’s the only way I’ve been able to attend secular gatherings and let my light shine, to speak of the Divine without compromise or condemnation. I believe the book One Thousand Gifts, by far my most favorite recent read, does just that. The book by Ann Voskamp is honest about her Christian struggles, questioning God’s goodness but eventually accepting all as grace from God. One Thousand Gifts goes into the world (including being on the New York Times Bestseller List), putting forth raw emotions and poetic language that many—Christians and non-Christians—can relate to, but it never embraces the world’s conclusions of creating a comfortable God who is easy to consume. Voskamp’s work is definitely a great example of being in the world and not of the world, maybe even becoming all things to all people to win some to Christ.

How have you come to understand Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 9:2? What are some ways that your life demonstrates being in the world, not of the world, and winning folks to Christ?

Copyright 2011 by Rhonda J. Smith

  • Sbwhite93

    Good question. One way is not to judge people for where they are. Recently, I was with someone who had a spirit of cattiness, meanness when it came to talking about other people. There are many things that I enjoy when talking to this person, even though I don’t care for that. Years ago, I would have totally dismissed them and decided I didn’t want to hang around them. I realize now, in this area, this is where that person is and hopefully, I can demonstrate/model Christ-like behavoir by not engaging it, changing the subject, not commenting or laughing.

    SBW

  • Your comment Shauntae definitely helps us to look at the whole person and not simply dismiss her because of one thing we don’t like. Your suggestions for getting around the cattiness may even help her to change. We never know how we can help people when we continue to engage them.

  • My3kids98

    I think that some Christians believe that the more they restrict themselves, the less they will be like the world. Sadly they often restrict themselves much more than the word of God, and as a result live a life of bondage created by the fear of being mistaken as a heathen. Being in the world but not of the world means living a life that not only shows the restrictions the Lord has put into place for His children to keep them safe, but also showing all the freedom we have in the Lord as His children. I think sometimes we as Christians spend so much time thinking about all the things we can’t do we don’t display the abundant life Jesus died for us to have. If we live that abundant life, and fulfill the purpose God has given us to the best of our ability, those that don’t know the Lord will see the glory of the Lord radiating from us, proving that though we are in this world we are not of this world

  • Great perspective, Carla. Many of us don’t know about the abundant life Jesus died for us to have and, therefore, are incapable of displaying it. We have to know the Bible and trust the Holy Spirit to guide us when we are unsure (like I am sometimes in this area). Thanks for writing.

  • OMG as a young believer (I’m only 22) this is a passage in the word that I have toiled with many times and had several conversations with my friends about over the past couple of years. One statement that someone said a while ago, I can’t remember who, is that,”You have to know where you’re at, spiritually.” For example if you have recently gotten over an alcohol addiction, it may not be the best decision for you to go into a bar and try to minister to someone.

    I think that the best way that we as Christians can adequately interpret this scripture is to “seek God in the matter,” as my mom always says. Know thy self and let God continue to show thy self. I believe that we must also evaluate the consequence of our decision. Ask ourself, “Would what I am doing or where I’m going cause’ someone else to fall?” As Christians we should strive to be living examples of Christ, wear Christ everywhere we go (In some cases literally). So before we go anywhere we should ask ourselves, does it cause’ blemish to our testimony?

    Great Post Min. Rhonda, Though evoking.

    Peace and Love,

    Najeema Iman, I AM Curly Locks

  • You have done a lot of thinking on this, Najeema. Without a doubt we have to be Holy Spirit led so we don’t ruin out testimony or cause someone to stumble. Thanks for weighing in.