In the World, but Not of It
The Scriptures contrast the thinking of the world with Truth from God. God warns us not to:
— "walk in the counsel of the ungodly"
— "stand in the way of sinners"
— "sit in the seat of the scornful" (Psalm 1:1)
John urges believers in an even stronger way:
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17).
"But it is equally important to notice that Jesus gave His heart for the Father's desire to work through His people...in the world..."
"I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is Truth. As You sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world" (John 17:15-18).
There will always be tension in the sincere Christian's life between their desire to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33) so as to honor God, and to feel the pressures from the world to follow their worldview and their counsel. The world is cynical, and even scornful, of believers who openly live and share their faith in their world influence and work. The world today is shouting: "Separation of church and state—take religion out of the marketplaces of America, and especially government decision making!"
This counsel is not to be heeded. The counsel of God is greatly needed in the secular arenas of our nation. This nation has strong witness from her founding fathers, those who led her through civil war and world wars, and even those who lead in this present hour. A republic founded as "one nation under God" can only survive on the wisdom of God, especially in the lives of its leaders. And God's wisdom, and warning, for us is clear: "Righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).
Sin, as God has defined it, unrestrained by the presence of godly people (when they cease to be salt and light) will be the ruin of a nation. However, God's people, when actively present and expressing freely their faith, are life that preserves a nation. The open and free witness of God's people is the key to a great nation, for it is then that God blesses a nation. History is witness to the nations and peoples who were richly blessed by God as they actively lived out their faith "in the world." God's people, freely sharing God's Good News, are like light that continually dispels the darkness. Americans have been that light, and America has been blessed because of it.
Now is the time to be a strong and faithful witness to the truth of God in all the marketplaces of the nation and in the homes and neighborhoods across the land. Our nation desperately needs the truth and wisdom that can only come from God through His people.
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