“Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom.  If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders.  But my Kingdom is not of this world.”  (John 18:36)

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.  But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

“We know that we belong to God even though the whole world is under the rule of the evil one.”  (1 John 5:19)

What is “The World”?

According to Scripture, The World (Greek “kosmos”) is 3 parts:  1) it is the actual material earth/universe (Acts 17:24), (Matthew 13:35), 2) it is the people on the earth (John 1:10), (John 3:16), (John 15:18), and 3) it is the tangible and intangible things (science, education, philosophy, technology, medicine, politics, music, art, law, and commerce) OF the earth (1 John 3:17), (1 Corinthians  3:19), (1 Corinthians 7:31).

If all 3 parts of This World are under the rule of Satan and subjugated to his world system, what is a Christian to do?

First, we must understand our reality as Christians.

We are in the world, but are no longer OF the world because we are now in Christ Jesus.  We belong to Christ.  “If the world hates you, just remember that it has hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, then the world would love you as its own.  But I chose you FROM this world, and you do not belong to it; that is why the world hates you.”  (John 15:18-19)

We are in the world, and are called to be lights in the darkness.  “You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.  Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”  (Matthew 5:14-16)  Jesus was the Light of the world while he walked the earth, and He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of each of us.  We are commanded to be lights seen in the darkness.  Without us, there is no spiritual light in this world.

Second, we are to utilize the world system according to God’s will.  We should not avoid food, drink, entertainment, professional occupation, hobbies, interactions in this world.  But we are called to submit all of these to God’s will in our lives and obey His Word.  The Holy Spirit, Who lives inside of us, convicts each of us according to God’s purpose.  Hiding away in an effort to keep ourselves “clean” renders us ineffective in expanding God’s Kingdom.  In reality, we could live on a deserted island and still sin against God, if even only in our thoughts.  But we have been called to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15)

We are in the world, and are supposed to be here, representing God’s Eternal Kingdom.  When Jesus prayed to the Father concerning his followers, he specifically said “I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the evil one.”  (John 17:15)

Third, we are to remember that we are not welcome here in this world.  We are aliens in a hostile land, hated because we belong to Christ Jesus.  We simply don’t belong here.  This is not our home, and the things we see and interact with are not ours.  They belong to the world and to the ruler of this world, Satan.  They were here in this world before we were born and they will remain here when we die.

Fourth, time belongs to this world.  Our lives are short, like a puff of air, and completely meaningless outside of God’s purpose.  King Solomon, who had everything this world could give anyone, both lamented and exclaimed that everything in this world is meaningless folly.  Countless people living and dying with only a “chasing of the wind” to show for their existence.  Christians are expected to know better; to keep ourselves detached from this world even as we interact with it and live in it.

The world we look forward to, our world, our true home, is as of yet unseen, but Scripture assures us that nothing compares. We are to use the time we have in this world to glorify God’s great name, our very lives an obedient witness to His glory until he calls us home.

NOTE: this post is based on portions of Watchman Nee’s “Love Not The World (A Prophetic Call To Holy Living)”.

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