Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Philippians 1:27 NLT
Recently I engaged in a conversation with a younger person that listens to and watches what could be labeled as vulgar and unholy entertainment. They floored me with their response to my questioning if Jesus would be pleased. “Jesus has no problem with it.” What they were saying and believing is that the things we hear, read, watch and fill our minds with really have no bearing on our relationship with Jesus Christ. I could not possibly disagree more. This conversation is a small picture of a much larger issue.
There is no doubt in my mind that in most Christian’s lives and even families there is little fight left when it comes to “not being a part of this world.” We have embraced this world mostly through the entertainment industry and brought pure filth into our homes. We don’t even flinch anymore or grieve the impurity, the sinfulness, or the things that are absolutely without question completely the opposite of what God calls us to be and do. If the world puts it out for us to see and be entertained by there is little discrimination left as to if this is pleasing to God.
Paul urged the church at Philippi to fill their minds with godly things and not the opposite:
Christian brothers, keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of. If there is anything good and worth giving thanks for, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NLT
One of the hardest challenges Christians face is the continual battle to stay in the right world with our heads and hearts. Too often we cross over and begin to think that the world around us is the “real world.” We assimilate our thinking to match what we hear at work, or school or in the marketplace. We compromise our values to fit in because, we reason, that’s the only way we will get ahead or not be made fun of. God forbid that we might be considered weird or odd. We laugh at the same jokes. We too easliy submit our minds, eyes, ears and hearts to things that are clearly not godly or holy. We are so deep into this world and this world is so deep inside of us that much like the proverbial frog in the kettle, we have no idea the heat is being turned up ever so slowly until it is too late. Our hearts and minds our filled with soul-destroying cancer from exposure to the ungodliness around us.
It is heartbreaking. It is shocking. It is a great mystery to me. It is hard to witness the death of authentic Christianity and true Christ following. It is hard to acknowledge the weakness of my own life.
The scripture is filled with the call to be holy, to avoid this world and its values and principles for living. This call is everywhere throughout the New Testament. Jesus spoke about it. The apostles wrote about it extensively and yet here we are. There is very little in our lives that distinguish us from the visible world we live in. If I understand this call to not be part of this world, I think we all must pause and evaluate our citizenship.
Which world do you belong to? Are you a part of this world which is truly the kingdom of darkness or a citizen of God’s Kingdom?
I am calling myself to this challenge. I am self-evaluating and trying to put my personal life up against the Word of God in word, thought and deed. What would we do or not do if Jesus were sitting beside us? What would you say? How would I act?
Here are some admonitions right from scripture that I have been praying through and trying to fully embrace. It is God’s word so take a deep breath and read through these word for word.
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love is not in him. 16 For everything that is in the world does not come from the Father. The desires of our flesh and the things our eyes see and want and the pride of this life come from the world. 17 The world and all its desires will pass away. But the man who obeys God and does what He wants done will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17 NLT
19 We know that we belong to God, but the whole world is under the power of the devil. 20 We know God’s Son has come. He has given us the understanding to know Him Who is the true God 1 John 5:19-20 NLT
19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. You do not belong to the world. I have chosen you out of the world and the world hates you. John 15:19 NLT
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 2 Timothy 2:22 NLT
11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. Titus 2:11-13 NLT
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Colossians 3:5-8 NLT
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT
Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; Philippians 2:15b – 16a NLT
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Ephesians 5:1-5 NLT
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:19-23 NLT
15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do.17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. John 15:15-19 NLT
IF you have made it this far in this blog please know that I am joining my prayer with yours and that I am working hard to immerse myself into the word of God and to make sure that I am a part of His Kingdom. I’m not judging you but trying to share what I beleive is nearly lost truth. Fight the good fight and be strong. Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
I have a three year old in my life several days a week. She and I have been singing traditional Christian children’s songs from the past. I am amzaed that two years later she has most of the words memorized. Today I watched her singing as I drove across town. She was oblivious to me as she sang, “My God is so big, So strong and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do.” She then sang, “The wise man built his house upon the rock.” I pray that somehow she will find a way to never lose these words and fight off the stench and pull of this world. It’s a fight to stay unspotted from the world around us. Search my heart O God.