How can you be in the world and not of the world?
How do you live in the world and not love the world?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed more and more young people I’ve seen grow up in the church or come into church as teenagers proceed to turn away from church once they reach the young adult years. As Christ’s return quickly approaches, it is disheartening to see these young people leave their love for the Lord and righteousness and give into worldly lusts. Yes, the world has many temptations, and it can be hard to resist the things our friends or society tell us are popular or fun. But if one loves God and attends church, how it is possible that he or she might end up choosing the world instead? How does one manage to live right in a sin-sick world and not fall into darkness?
After all, there are temptations and spirits of darkness everywhere, trying to pull us away from the Lord.
Well, it all boils down to one thing: your personal commitment to and relationship with Jesus Christ.
Here are 3 ways you can resist the world and live for Jesus:
1. Don’t let yourself develop an appetite for worldly things.
The things we consume will influence our appetite and priorities.
Is that show or movie you’re watching coming between you and your relationship with God? Is the music you’re listening to causing you to speak or think more about worldly appetites than wholesome thoughts? Are you more enthusiastic about a tv show than talking with your friends about Jesus? Are you more exuberant in your praise at a football stadium than at the altar in a worship service? If you don’t let yourself love the things of the world more than the things of God, you’ll be able to be in the world and still stand for righteousness and holiness. Understand where those worldly things & behaviors lead you.
2. Develop an appetite for the things of God.
In order to do this, you can begin by replacing unhealthy habits with righteous ones. For example, instead of listening to worldly music on the way to church, listen to music that brings you closer to God. Instead of looking at Bible studying as a chore, find ways to make it more enjoyable by using study guides, Bible journals, and other interactive Bible study tools. As you read the Word more and apply it to your life, you’ll begin to see how His Word & Spirit will change you, and you’ll find yourself no longer wanting the things of the world but the things of God.
3. Surround yourself with God-first people.
One of my lifelong spiritual leaders has always said this phrase:
“If you can’t change your friends, change your friends.”
This doesn’t mean we can’t associate with and witness to people of the world. Of course, we absolutely should! But if those people with whom we’re spending most of our time are beginning to have a negative influence on us and are taking us further from the Lord, then it’s time to step away from those relationships. This doesn’t mean that we’re shutting them out and turning up our nose at them in a self-righteous attitude. It does mean recognizing that for our own salvation, we may need to distance ourselves from negative influences while still praying for those friends and their salvation.
If you surround yourself with people who mock righteousness and holiness and resist the things of God, then you’ll drift further away from Him. If you surround yourself with Godly, God-first, and God-only people, then you’ll be able to grow in your relationship with God, loving and longing only for the things that please Him.
The world is intoxicated and diseased with sin. It’s dying, and it’s pulling so many lost souls into eternal suffering.
But when we live for Jesus and resist the world, we tell people that there is so much more to life than worldly pleasures and living for ourselves.
Temporal pleasures are, of course, fleeting. They don’t last. But the love of Jesus within us gives us lasting joy, contagious joy that spreads and overcomes the allure of this world.
When we live boldly for Jesus in this world and love Him more than the things of the world, we’re sending His message of hope to the lost that sin and death no longer have power over us when we surrender to Jesus Christ.