There are many people who read this blog and have commented that I seem to repeatedly wrestle with this idea of “being in the world but not of it” and I would agree with you – I do struggle with the day-to-day application of this phrase. Last weekend, I initiated a discussion (once again) about this idea. Friends offered ideas about being transparent and authentic, about being the same person inside the home as he/she is in other settings and about not conforming to the world.
I agree…but I believe there’s more to it – I just can’t put my finger on it. So, when I get quiet moments in my day, I like to reflect and write down my thoughts about it all.
I think it has to do with consistency in living out truth – God’s truth. He doesn’t change so His truth doesn’t change either. He became man and walked on this earth, being in the world but not of it. He was amongst the people, living counter-culturally.
He didn’t live an easy life. He lived an obedient life.
It’s not about being the person we think we should be. It’s about being the person that God has made us to be and understanding that living that way isn’t going to be easy. We are put physically on this earth for an finite amount of time but we aren’t going to “fit” because we were never made to fit. Our identity is in Christ and we are to obey His word, regardless of circumstances.
This afternoon, I cancelled some appointments because the weather wasn’t cooperating with my plans. I had a chunk of quiet, unexpected time so I edited one of my son’s law assignments, I spoke to the Ministry of the Environment about the run off into Lake Simcoe and I watched an outstanding documentary on the Amish.
How did the documentary start? With these words: “They’re in our world but they’re not part of our world. They don’t want to be like us. They shape themselves by rejecting us. They keep the world at a distance. They are working together to actively life according to Christ’s teaching.”
One Amish man was quoted as saying, “Twenty million tourists visit Amish communities every year. I don’t know why they come to look at us. Are they yearning for something?”
I would answer that questions with a confident “YES” – I do think people are yearning for truth in this world but it comes at a price – surrendering to self. I’m not condoning the Amish belief system ( although I do respect the simplicity of their lifestyle and their commitment to community) but they are a strong visual of “living in this world but not of it.”
…but I’m not Amish and I will continue to wrestle with this concept. I want to be salt and light in this world but I also know in my heart that I don’t belong. I don’t want to fit. I want to die to self but so often, I fail miserably.
“Me” gets in the way.
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9.23