Being the Mom to teenage girls, I’m seeing so clearly what all of the warnings about raising teens actually meant. I’ve heard it all so many times, but call it naïveté, or maybe call it pride… I really thought that somehow my teens would be the one exception to the norm. I truly believed that because they were such good kids, they’d float through these years with a leg up on the struggling teens living around them. (How cute that I thought that )
Now don’t get me wrong, my girls are not bad kids. As a matter of fact, they are pretty good. But what I’m realizing now is just how much the world around them influences who they are growing to become. No matter how much I try to teach them how to act, how to make good decisions or how to just be SAFE, my voice of reason and experience often gets drowned out by the loud noise of the culture driven world that we live in.
And as a Mom, that terrifies me!
When I was their age, I remember thinking how irrelevant and out of touch my parents were. I wasn’t embarrassed of them, I was embarrassed FOR them. They didn’t like the music I liked, they dressed differently. They didn’t care about impressing the “cool” teens they encountered. I thought all of this meant that they were just hopelessly nerdy. But now that the tables have turned and I see my kids looking at ME that way, I’m realizing a much deeper and somewhat difficult truth.
My parents weren’t out of touch, they were experienced. They had lived life, learned difficult lessons and navigated their way thought the truths of this world and the truth of our culture to discover the right (and wrong!) ways to live.
The world we live in has a super strong pull. It is so influential, especially to young and impressionable minds. Everything we know as bad looks good to the world. And everything that we as Bible believing Christians see as good is looked at as bad by the world. We live in an upside down and broken world.
So what does all of this mean?
Being “in” the world states the obvious. It means that we are physically in the world. It’s where we live, Worshipping our God and enjoying all that He created.
But what does it mean to be “of” the world?
Being “of” the world has a completely different meaning, because rather than focusing on the physical place we live, it’s focusing on where our heart is. This world is not our home.
This doesn’t mean we should avoid people who think or act differently than us. But we have to be very careful to listen without allowing what they are saying to desensitize us to a point that we no longer can discern our Biblical beliefs from cultural beliefs.
We are not of this world. God tells us that this world is not our home. And even though this world isn’t the end game for those of us who accept Jesus Christ, God has each one of us here for a purpose. We are on a mission for God to share His message and create disciples. We are on a journey to show people the love of our Savior so that they can join us someday in our heavenly home.
So how do we live a life not “of” this world?
- Know and understand God’s Word. Everything we need to know about Him is in that book. Read it, study it, talk about it. The more you learn, the closer your heart will align to His as you get to know Him. Make reading the Bible part of your daily routine. (Read Romans 10:17, Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Psalm 119:5 & 11, Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, Proverbs 4:10-13, Deuteronomy 11:18-23)
- Live among the world. Don’t avoid people when they look or act differently than you. Those people you see running after the life the World loves…they need Jesus, too. And you may be able to show them in a quiet and loving way what a life lived for Him looks like. They don’t need you to judge them or wave a finger at them. But you can show them that there is a better way by how you live your life. (Read Matthew 5:14-16, Ephesians 5:11, 2 Corinthians 4:4)
- Protect your heart from the influences of this world. Trust the Holy Spirit to remind you when something is potentially pulling you away. If you are watching a movie or show that has questionable morals or makes you feel uncomfortable, turn it off! If you are at a party and the conversations are going in a direction you don’t like, remove yourself from the conversation in a polite way. You don’t have to make a scene, but you do need to protect your heart and mind from things that threaten sway your towards conforming to this world we live in.(Read Romans 12:2, Colossians 2:8, Matthew 7:13)
Am I living in the world, or of the world?
Let's grow together!
In the comments below, share your answer. And what will you do with that answer?
Bible Journaling Prompts
Apply what you’ve learned
♡ This week, read the following verses. Think about how these exceprtps from God’s Word really drive home the topic of being in the world vs being of the world.
As you read each passage, write it out word for Word in your journal. Then summarize what each one is saying. Then ask yourself how you can apply this to your life, writing your answer in your journal
- John 15:19 – If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you
- John 17:14-16 – I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it
- 1 John 2:15- Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them.
- Romans 12:2- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
- James 1:27 – Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.