Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In the World, Not of It

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But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 
2 Timothy 3:1-5

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

I thought about beginning this post with the sentiment that it is a tough time in history to be a believer. Then it occurred to me what a laughable sentiment that is. In a history that has included burned martyrs and includes persecution to death in the present day in other countries, for luxurious American believers, it is not so difficult to be Christian.

Here's the truth though: I spend most of my life in the world. As followers of Christ, we are called to be in the world, not of it, yet there is so much of our fallen world that surrounds us and threatens us in every detail of our lives. It is an easy thing to struggle with. How do we obey scripture's command to "not be conformed to this world?" It may be relatively easy to be an American Christian, but that doesn't mean that it's easy. Being a believer means facing ridicule from those around us who don't believe in Christ, and it means being under a microscope when bad things happen to see what we'll do. And what do we do? If you're like me, a lot of times, you freeze. You do the wrong thing. I do this; I say the wrong thing or act in the wrong way. I don't always stand up for my beliefs. And I know I'm not constantly being persecuted; I know that. But the majority of the people I interact with day-to-day are not saved. And that can wear me out.

Here's another truth. I don't spend most of my days working in an uplifting environment. Safe? Sure. With working water and electric? Yup. With the necessary tools to do my job? Sometimes, less and less in public education. But in my workplace, the place where I spend so much of my days, I feel like I am being assaulted on all sides from keeping Christ at the forefront of my mind. I don't work in a church or in my home; my work environment isn't something I can control. And it's not that it causes me to sin, so much as it makes it very easy to forget that Christ is in control and not me.

That I am such a good worker/teacher/friend/mother/wife because of Christ's grace.
That I have this job because of Him.
That I must do this job excellently to glorify Him.
Even if my job, my workplace and the people around me don't want Him there.
His Spirit is inside me the whole time.

So this is encouragement to you and to me who spend our lives in the world, but not of it. Take heart, ladies, and in the words of the writer of Hebrews, "run with endurance the race that is set before us..." (12:1). Races are difficult and tiring, challenging and rewarding. Our faith and our lives should be the same.

Soli Deo Gloria, y'all. :)


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