In the world, but not of the world?
How can that be? How can you be in the world, but not of it? Jesus says of His disciples, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16). Have you ever been somewhere, but not been from there? That may seem like a slightly ludicrous question, as I am sure most of us have been to places other than our hometown. But somehow, we have a hard time understanding it! I know I have, personally, especially when I have been in close contact with worldly people. But, it is our mission to be a witness to the world, which is full of worldly people! How can we do this? I recently looked at some quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy, and I think there is some answers there. Try this quote for instance. It is from “4 MR” 197.1; “If believers associate with unbelievers for the purpose of winning them to Christ they will be witnesses for Christ, and having fulfilled their mission, will withdraw themselves in order to breathe in a pure and holy atmosphere. They will draw near to God, and send up earnest petitions to Christ in behalf of their friends and associates, knowing that He is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. When in the society of unbelievers, ever remember that in character you are a representative of Jesus Christ, and let no light and trifling words, no cheap conversation, be upon your lips. Keep in mind the value of the soul, and remember that it is your privilege and your duty to be in every possible way a laborer together with God. You are not to lower yourself to the same level as that of unbelievers. This manner of conduct will only make you a stumbling block in the way of sinners. . . .” So, there is no doubt of the fact that we need to be witnesses, to unbelievers, and even to associate with them! But, we are not to lower ourselves to their level. Also, see this quote. It is from “DA” 152.3; “As disciples of Christ we shall not mingle with the world from a mere love of pleasure, to unite with them in folly. Such associations can result only in harm. We should never give sanction to sin by our words or our deeds, our silence or our presence.”
It appears that we should not be around when people are doing things that don't please God, as this is giving sanction to sin, which would be kind of like being an accomplice in this day and age. Here is a good reason why we should not be around for these things. It is from “OHC,” 258.4; “The Lord Jesus cannot keep any soul who places himself upon the enemy's ground and surrounds himself with the society of those who prefer such conversation and conduct as is an offense to the God he reveres and loves.” So, I believe these are some good ideas to what we should avoid, in our associations with unbelievers, or even believers! I believe we need to really get out there, and make a difference! Our world needs to see people who are different, people who don't yield to the pressure of worldliness, people who follow God wherever He leads. May we be those people!
Your brother in Christ,