John 17:16-17 AMPC
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
1 John 2:15-17
There Is a DIFFERENCE between being IN the world and being OF the world.
But what does that mean in the practical? How do I love on other people and teach them God’s character without compromising what I believe?
I’ve always had a burning in my heart to show believers what it is like to COME FOR people as opposed to DWELLING WITH those who do not know or obey God.
It’s a slippery slope … more often than not, I see well-meaning Christ followers fall off the “Christian bandwagon” because they think they’re strong enough to eat drink and be merry with the world, without being pulled down by the overwhelming temptations that surround them.
If you think about it… those who change lives and help people the most, have a moment in their own lives where they SEE what walking with God can be, REALIZE that they CANNOT be LIKE the people they wish to save, and LIVE their lives …SEPARATE.
It’s like a Doctor. A Doctor cannot (and should not) try to make himself unwell to help his patient be healed from influenza. In fact, a Doctor MUST make himself so physically strong that being in the presence of the disease cannot taint him. He needs to guard himself from the disease and take PRECAUTIONS to stay healthy, while making his patients wellbeing his goal.
If he goes around disease with the PRIDE of a man who is “knowledgeable” about the sickness or who is “fearless” when around the disease… he will STILL get sick AND… he will bring that sickness home with him to his family.
In life we meet people, we love them, we spend time with them, we get to know them. We “befriend” them. It’s natural… But there is a difference between COMING FOR people in our world and DWELLING WITH them.
When I go to my Law School sessions, I talk about Jesus whenever I can… not out of compulsion, but because it simply flows out of me by my spending time with Him. Due to my openness about Christ, I have often been the one who is asked by my school mates to pray for their family members, for their test taking, for their sanity…
I am someone they like to tell their successes to because they know I will rejoice with them! And I am someone they ask their spiritual or moral questions to… NOT because I am perfect, but because it’s clear that I am different from them… different in a way they long for… and that difference is JESUS.
I was studying once with one of my school friends when he asked me if I’d ever seen a certain film. I kind of shook my head as this ex-sailor immediately realized what he’d just asked me. He said, “Oh! You would NEVER have seen that one! Too much language.”
I liked that he knew I would never watch certain movies … It showed me that my light was shining, all by itself… that God was using me to show others His character…
I cannot always hang out after class with my law school friends, but I believe they know I deeply and honestly want them well. Well in their soul. Well in their spirit. Well in their body. Well in their relationships. I want them peaceful and close to God so badly, that I am especially careful with what I watch/listen to, where I go and don’t go, what I say and don’t say…
Because to them.. I am a SYMBOL of Christ… maybe the only one they’ve ever really seen.
I do not go dancing in bars or curse or gossip about my teachers. I cannot show tolerance for other religions knowing my God is the only Way the Truth and The Life. I cannot agree on political issues in class that hurt God’s heart; I have to take a stand on things even if it makes me UNFASHIONABLE or separates me from my “friends.”
I have a HIGHER calling.
And it is because of this calling, my unbelieving friends take me seriously.
Again… PERFECTION is so far from what I am that to mention it makes me cringe a little… What I Am is… SEPARATE.
And because we live in an upside down kingdom of God with upside down laws and regulations… this “separation” of me FROM the world, allows people to be DRAWN in TO the light that lives inside me.
There’s a huge downside to COMING FOR others and Not DWELLING WITH them…
I release all allusions of “Friendship” and “Popularity”… I don’t meet people in order to fill some relational hole I have in my life… I know I am on this planet to MINISTER, to SERVE, to LOVE. Not to get coffee with others in hopes they will “get me” so that I have a new buddy to go shopping with.
I can’t do drugs with my friends one day and expect them to believe me when I say Jesus is the Way, the next. I can’t go watch “50 shades of Grey” with my non-believing or even my believing friends one day and then tell them that Jesus says to stay pure the next.
That’s called hypocrisy and it doesn’t work. It’s not suppose to.
Often I see Christians using the life of Christ as an example (or an EXCUSE) to connect with sinners who want to do what they want to do… SIN. They say, “Jesus would hang out with them, so I can too!” But they are forgetting one thing…
We are fallen. We are human. And when presented with our particular preference of temptation- we tend to drop our moral compass and do whatever we FEEL good about.
Jesus went into terrible places with worldly people for ONE PURPOSE… To SAVE. To FREE. To HEAL!
We are not strong in ourselves nor are we suppose to be! If we truly LOVE our “friends” and by friends I mean- non-believers or believers who don’t obey God’s Word- we CANNOT try to BE like them.
How else will we be able to go into a strip club or Skid row or a bar down the street to COME FOR the hurting without DWELLING IN the mess they presently find themselves?
How else will we be sympathetic to the weaknesses of fellow believers without making those weaknesses our very own?
We have to get HONEST about what we want. Be truthful!
Are you going into the bar to dance, drink, flirt and convert under the guise of ministering? Or did you hear the Spirit of God say, “Go into that bar to save a life”… and you are simply following His instructions?
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9 NASB).
That’s the balance of being saved. The line we have to walk is NARROW… so narrow in fact you may not see anyone in front or behind you.
But for the LOVE of GOD and for the LOVE of People, we must learn to be SEPARATE!
Separate to such an extent that the messy, dirty, hurting people around us see that it’s possible to be CLEAN! It’s possible to be PEACE-FILLED! It’s possible to be DIFFERENT from what they are… It’s possible to be FREE!
Let’s grow up and drop our petty desires so that God can trust us to RUN into darkness shining His LIGHT!
God wants the people in this world to be RESCUED!! Let’s pray and ask The Lord for the CHARACTER and DISCERNMENT we need to help Him in His Mission. In Jesus’ name.
Catch The Wave,