[in the world, not of the world]

[in the world, not of the world]

Today I am joining Peter Pollock’s One Word at a Time Blog Carnival.

The word for today:

SECULAR.

We, as Christians, are called to be in the world… yet remember that we are not of this world.

One of the biggest problems with us is that we easily can go to the extreme of being completely “not of this world” and forgetting about the fact that we are still here, for a reason.

At one of our Friday small groups, we were discussing whether middle ground is good. I actually think that sometimes middle ground is necessary. It is necessary to meet people half-way.

I am not talking about compromising our values just so that we can be closer to the people.

No.

However, staying on one side and waiting for everyone else to come is silly too.

Jesus did not wait for people to change in order to come meet them.

He did not wait for all of us to die and then coming and doing something. He came before we even knew we needed Him.

He came to Zacchaeus ‘ place for dinner before Zach decided to give up his way of life and follow Him.

He is proactive in His relationships.

Secular… something of this world. 

Holy… something of the God’s world.

Two opposites, yet this world is where the two clash.

Secular – something usual.

Holy – something set apart. 

Can something usual rise to being set apart? 

I believe so.

We are not of this world. But we are in this world for a reason.

What are your thoughts? Can there be a balance? Is middle ground safe in this case? 

  • I can understand middle ground or at least meeting someone half way. Then as Believers we must seek to reach the Higher Ground. That does not mean to look down on others who have not reached that high ground. Loveing others and showing acts of kindness often opens doors for a testimony of the Grace of our Lord Jesus.

    • Yes – it’s all too easy to forget what it’s like to be on a “lower ground” so to speak and disregard those people whom we are called to serve.

      Hmm… I wonder… In God’s kingdom, Higher Ground – is it really higher or lower? Jesus said that the one who is humbling himself / herself will be exalted…

  • Mary

    You raise an interesting point. I think the example of Jesus is instructive. We meet people where they are and are fully present to them without a sense of duality. In this way the love of God can flow through us and will guide the situation. The love of God is there for everyone regardless of where they seem to be in the world’s estimation.

    • We meet people where they are and are fully present to them without a sense of duality. – exactly!

  • I agree. We are here for a purpose and a reason, especially when we are focused on serving the Lord any way He calls us to do it. We can’t just plan on staying immobile. I don’t mind reaching out to people and going places… need to do that whenever He lays it on my plate. However, I also need to be sure I have enough time separated from the world around me, with it’s attitude and actions, so I don’t fall apart in my heart. We need to walk carefully and forcefully… Just like Jesus did. [What I need to do more is pray as Jesus prayed… spending time, MUCH time, with the Father.]

    • Our lives are all about balance. We cannot love others without loving God and without loving ourselves (the last one is odd, but Jesus said “love your neighbor as yourself” ergo it’s impossible to try to take care of the people around you without knowing what love feels like)… Therefore, in order to be able to serve others, we should serve God and serve ourselves – which means taking care of our own spiritual life, not just trying to help those close to us.

      Carefully and forcefully – yes.

  • “In the world not of the world” is a great take on explaining our interaction with the secular things.

    I think we should take Jesus’ example. He never avoided the secular things, but he used them or transformed them for his purpose.

    For example, what was supposed to be a boat ride in the rain (nothing obviously sacred about it, right?) became a miracle when Jesus calmed the storm; or when he took the boys fishes and bread (again, they were just a young boy’s lunch) and multiplied them to feed thousands of people.

    We should not avoid secular just for the sake of being secular. We should avoiod the things that may harm our relationship with God or with each other.

    • We should not avoid secular just for the sake of being secular. We should avoiod the things that may harm our relationship with God or with each other. – YES, YES, and YES! Thank you, Cris 🙂

      My “philosophy” is that if God created this world, even in its current state, it is still full of lessons about God and from God. You only have to pay attention to the little things – because often, like with Elijah, God is not in the roaring thunder or fierce storm, but in a gentle whisper of wind. We often expect big things and miracles from Him and don’t notice small lessons He’s teaching us.

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