“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16).
Each week we go many places and do many things. That is normal and natural. Christians are in the world. Participation in the world cannot be avoided. There is work to do; groceries to buy; ball games to play and friends to visit. The world is very powerful, however. Its influence can be overwhelmingly strong. Could it be that the world sometimes overwhelms our thinking and our faith?
Our Lord prayed to the Father for His disciples. He was concerned that while His disciples continued to live in the world they must not be part of the world. “I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is the truth. As you sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world. For their sakes sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” (John 17:14-10).
We must have an emotional separation from the world. We must be able to critically examine our environment and know what is sinful and what is righteous. We may be in the world but we can never be part of the world. The Lord prayed that we be kept from the evil one. We must do our part to stay away from the evil one. We must not allow the world to become the dominating factor in our life. Instead, the Word of the Lord must be the principle factor, we must be sanctified in the Word of Truth. We are in the world to change the world, not be changed by the world.
John reminded his readers how hard emotional separation from the world would be. “Do not love the world nor 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, and the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lust; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17). Satan will use any part of the world to entice and deceive.
Have we become part of the world from which we were to have remained separated? Have we been overcome by the world instead of allowing ourselves to be sanctified in the truth? A few questions about daily habits might help us realize where we stand. Have we been in places dedicated to decadence instead of righteousness? Have our conversations been unholy? Have we been to sports activities when we should have been in worship activities? Have we been in business activities that compromised our faith? Have we been in a relationship that is sinful? Are we willing to repent and return to sanctification? God can help us to return to His ways. He forgives and blesses, if we so desire.