The kids are off from school this week for Spring break. While I am enjoying our time together, I’m finding it challenging to get into a rhythm and concoct clever plans for our days. I guess today’s writing is reflective of my state of mind—scattered.
While I was at the gym this morning reading the close captions on the bank of TVs, it struck (again) me how hard it is live in this world and be a Christian. We are surrounded by a society that is anything but godly—a presidential election that seems more about hate and hypocrisy than hope and reason; powerful men seduced by their seeming immortality, tumbling to reality in disgrace and scandal; a pervasive message that tells our young people that sex isn’t really sex and morals are flexible because it all depends on your point of view; a family unit that makes a married mom and dad optional; and our national obsession with celebrities…and that’s just what I saw in 45 minutes while on the stationery bike!
I’m often tempted to curse the darkness and rant about how bad everything and everyone is. Or to live in an ivory tower and shut it all out.
A few months ago, my daughter felt this way. She was upset and told me she thought that God was telling her to switch to a Christian school. My husband and I are extremely pleased with the public school she attends so I was surprised by this. When I pressed her for an explanation, it seemed her concern centered on the ungodly influences at school and the choices of some of her peers. As a mother protecting her young, my first instinct was to get on her transfer ASAP! But after a few moments of consideration, and a quick silent prayer, I saw that my daughter’s request was more about running away than running toward. It was about looking for that ivory tower where life is “good” and safe.
As I told her, our challenge as Christians is to live IN the world, but not OF the world. Jesus says, “you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” (John 15:19). As believers we are future residents of heaven and aliens in this world. But while we await our inheritance, we are commanded to be salt and light. Jesus tells us, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14, 16).
Every day, all around us, there is so much darkness—much of which the world embraces. But Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world and neither should we. As followers of Christ, we’re set apart and our behavior and good deeds should light the path so that others can find their way out of the darkness—to Jesus.
Figuring out how to do this is hard. It’s an area I struggle with daily.
How about you? Do you have any suggestions, personal examples or experiences of living in but not of the world that we can learn from?