Called to Live in the World, Not of the World
You are Set Apart
Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in? Have you experienced those moments of knowing there was something more for you out there? Have you ever come to the stark realization that this world is not your home?
My young friend in Lynchburg, Virginia felt this way. She shared,
I remember the first time I felt this. I was in high school and had just begun to get serious about my faith. I had started reading the Bible and growing in my relationship with Christ, and it was changing everything. No longer did I fit in with society—I simply couldn’t go along with the ways of the world. As amazing as it sounds that I was growing in that way, it was isolating and lonely. I went to school every day feeling unconnected from all of the people around me. I never felt at peace or comfortable. It felt like no one understood.
Around that time, I heard the song “Where I Belong” by Building 429. The chorus goes like this: “All I know is I’m not home yet. This is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus. This is not where I belong.” It struck me deep because it put words to the intense emotions I was experiencing. It comforted me to know where they were coming from. I realized that as long as I remained on this earth, I wouldn’t be home. I am in this world, but not of it, and will never feel at home until I am with Jesus.
You are Called
I don’t know if you’ve ever had an experience like my sweet friend, but I do know that if you are truly a believer in Christ, you will be homesick while living in this world. Why? Because we are called to live in the world, but we are not called to live of the world.
Soon before Jesus went to the cross, he told his disciples, “If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life. If you serve me, you must go with me. My servants will be with me wherever I am. If you serve me, my Father will honor you” (John 12:25-26 CEV). Here, he made it clear what it means to not be of the world. Instead of following the worldly ways of doing everything in our power to get what we want, achieve success, and gain the approval of man, we are called to give up our lives. We are called to follow Jesus in laying our lives down for the sake of others. We are called to disregard everything this world offers in pursuit of the eternal glory of heaven. This is what Jesus did, and He commands us to follow Him—wherever He goes.
Now, the reality is that we are still in this world. Until the day we are called home, we live every day in a broken world. Jesus talked about this, too. He prayed to the Father, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:15-18 ESV).
Jesus revealed so much to us in this prayer. He made it clear that we are not to live our lives isolated from the world, never partaking in it. Being set apart from the world doesn’t mean living in isolation from the world although there are some days, I love the thought of living isolated from the pain and challenges of society. But we are sent into the world. We are to engage with the world. But first, we must prepare our hearts.We must guard our hearts and minds against the enemy by spending time in the Word and prayer. Click To Tweet
You are Chosen
Spending time in God’s Word daily reminds us of who we are and whose we are – our identities are found in Christ.
God calls us to be generous with our lives by opening up to others (Matthew 5:13-16 The Message) as we bring out the God-colors of the world. It is never about us. We are here to be light-bearers for Christ. So, allow the Lord to sanctify you and then go out and shine your light on the darkness in this world. This is what being set apart truly looks like.
And, my friend, it won’t be easy to live in this world as a woman set apart for God. Trust me on this but it is your choice to make. God will never force you to do His will. The choice is up to you.
Jesus spoke these words,
“If you were to give your allegiance to the world, they would love and welcome you as one of their own. But because you won’t align yourself with the values of this world, they will hate you. I have chosen you and taken you out of the world to be mine. The world will hate us because we don’t belong to it and don’t look like it. But it is the love of Christ that compels us to keep going, taking up our cross day after day. That is our calling, and with the Spirit inside of us empowering us every second, we can make it to the finish line.” John 15:19 The Passion Translation
You see, the world may despise you or reject you because you have been set apart. But God will never reject you nor will God ever leave you. It is the love of Christ that compels us to keep going, to keep persevering day after day as we take up our cross and follow Him. And, on those days when the burden seems too heavy to carry, remember, you were chosen for such a time as this. You are a daughter of the King and you carry out your calling through the Holy Spirit that encourages, equips, and empowers you as you take each step. And, with His strength, you and I will make it to the finish line.
Keep on shining!