‘In the world, but not of the world’
By Rev. Kevin Opatz, Good News Church, Howard Lake
Many fellow Christian believers have heard or coined this phrase. In this text, the words of Jesus clearly state that we “are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
The Christ lived and operated from a spiritual strength that was derived from the Father in heaven. This is why we find Jesus continually praying to God at all hours, reading His Word, and ministering by the spirit of God.
This is a Biblical pattern for us, as well. Jesus said, “. . . as You sent me into this world, I also have sent them into the world.” Until the time of our physical death, we are called to be in this world, but not of this world.
The term “of” in this context refers directly to an association with, or familiarity to a thing or person. As stated earlier, Jesus was “of” the Father, and “of” His Father’s heavenly things of the spirit, such as love, peace, joy, gentleness, perseverance, goodness, faithfulness, kindness and self-control.
These were imparted into Christ’s life through His divine relationship, by spiritual disciplines. He literally took time to pray with the Father, read and receive revelation in His Word, as well as fellowship and connect with believers in God.
These disciplines and others will allow us to counter the pull and influence of the world’s spirits. The Bible calls the world’s spirit the “anti-Christ spirit.” “Anti” means against or opposing, so obviously, we cannot partake much of this spirit if we intend to please God with our lives.
Scripture says, “The world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You sent me.”
Whatever robs our peace, our love, our joy, our self-control, etc. is displacing God’s work in our lives. If this is happening in our family life, at work, with friends and relatives, we are actually “of” the world that we are in. We are producing a fruit that is not of the Godly spirit.
Again, in this text, Jesus said He is praying for those who truly want to live for Him praying for them not to be taken out of the world, but that they would be kept from the evil one, Satan.
We need to link with God so that He may fulfill His Word over us. As we become closer with Him, He will show us ways and give us the strength to keep us away from evil.