I'm going to use my last post as a spring board for this one.
I think we Christians are very guilty of forgetting what our relationship should be with the world. We get caught up in our day-to-day busyness, and before you know it, we're walking hand in hand with people, ideas, philosophies, and cultures that we should be separating from.
It's easy to forget, and/or get distracted. It's easy to become ensnared. We are literally surrounded with evil, wickedness, and sin. Our senses are being dulled. We constantly need to be on our guard against wicked influences, otherwise we will become ineffective as witnesses for our Saviour. That's why I posted those verses. It's good to be reminded of what the Bible says. I for one need frequent reminders!
I like the encouragement of Galatians 5:1:
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
The world is a nasty net of evil, sin, and bondage, and Satan is so clever at entangling the Christian in it. But, praise the Lord, in Christ we are free!!! Why would we ever want to give that freedom up?? Why would we ever want to go back? Yet, we so often do. I've been reading through the Old Testament, and am reminded of how many times Israel promised to follow God, and then they would do a complete 180 and do totally the opposite of what they had just promised. They complained, doubted, worshipped false gods, and forgot all those wonderful promises they made about obeying God. I think if we were honest, we'd see that too often we're just like Israel. Saying one thing and doing the opposite.
We need to stand fast. We need to hold on. We need to remember that everything of the world is opposed to God. EVERYTHING! The world's systems, beliefs, and philosophies, are all, without exception, contrary to God and His Word. That's why II Corinthians 6:17 tells us to come out from among them and be separate. That's why Romans 12:2 tells us NOT to be conformed to the world, but be transformed.
I believe we Christians understand this principle. I think we "get it", at least with our heads. However, I believe often that understanding hasn't travelled from our heads to our hearts. The Bible says that A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil... (Luke 6:45). Without a doubt, successful Christian living begins in the heart. It begins with reading our Bibles, praying, and surrendering our lives to Christ. If we work at getting that good into our hearts, our outward actions will reflect that good. That's why it disturbs me when I hear Christians taking the Lord's name in vain, or justifying their use of alcohol, or dressing in a provocative way. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not perfect, and I don't want to be accused of picking at motes when I've got beams. I also understand that some Christians are still babes and need to be taught and encouraged. Nevertheless, when Christians have a cavalier attitude towards holy living and simply don't care about honouring Christ with their actions, attitudes, and words, I think we've got a problem. It's a heart problem, and it's showing itself in the lifestyle of that person.
If all we do as Christians is try to be a little better than the world, we will constantly be lowering the bar of Christianity. Why? Because the world is waxing worse and worse as the end times approach. This was prophesied in II Timothy 3, and we can definitely see the evidence of it's fulfillment today. God doesn't want us to measure our level of spirituality by the world's standards. We can always find someone who is worse than we are. We have a higher call. We have a greater purpose. Our goal as Christians is to bring glory to God, and our standard for achieving that is God's Word. God's given us everything we need in His Word to be a REAL Christian. He's clearly shown us how we are to be different from the world, and why we are to be different (I Peter 2:9). He's shown us the path He wants us to take (Ps. 119:105). The best part is that He's promised us wonderful, eternal, heavenly (and even some earthly) rewards for following Him! (Matthew 6:18, 20; Ps. 19:11; Luke 6:35; Col 3:24; Heb. 11:6).