Of it or Just in it

‘Do not love the world or the things in the world,’ says 1 John 2:15. All of us have a tendency to wander in this area. We protest that we are to love the lost, as Christ did, and that we can really ‘relate’ to non-Christians by being just like them.

We are to love the people in this world, and Matthew 28:19-20 gives us clear instruction that we are to preach the gospel to them. I am by no means saying that we have to detach ourselves from real life, denying the existence of things like Facebook or ipods or Big Macs. We live in this world and so did our Saviour. But that does not mean that we are permitted to conform to the ways of this world. God placed us in this world but He did not call us to be of this world. Romans 12:2 clarifies this when Paul says, ‘Do not be conformed to this world.’

1 John 2 goes on to inform us that ‘…the world is passing away.’ What is this world worth in comparison to Heaven? Our lives here are so short compared to eternity. So why does it matter whether we look cool or have the latest things? As my father says, ‘Who cares what labels you’re wearing on the Day of Judgment!?’ We can get so wrapped up with the things of this world that we lose our eternal perspective!

Materialism is choking the church and we sit back and do nothing. Ask yourself what the differences are between you and your non-Christian friends. Are there any? If people see that we are the same as everybody else, how will they see Christ in us or identify our love for Him?

The world is a lot more discerning than we give it credit for, and people know when they are getting shallow and pretend religion. Our lives should not be in contradiction to the message that we preach. Before you make a decision about what clothes to wear, what film to watch or – fill in the blank – think about whether that thing will enable the world to see Christ in you.

Another startling thing we are told of in Scripture is that the ‘whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.’(1 John 5:19). The devil is influencing this world, so surely if we want to glorify God, the world should be the last place we look for assurance and pleasure!

Let us not set our standards as just a bit better than the world; let us aim for the highest standards! We should try to be like Jesus Christ, not our contempories. James 4:4 reminds us that ‘friendship with the world is enmity with God…whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.’ That is serious, isn’t it? Thomas Manton said ‘A carnal Christian is no Christian but the carcass of a Christian, if we don’t put the love of the world to death the world will put us to death.’

Elspeth McLachlan

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7 comments:

  1. Very nice article Elspeth! I really enjoyed reading it!

    I deffinetly agree with this whole thing!

    Our Pastor always says "We are to be in the world-- Not of it!"

    What are your views as far as wearing skirts all the time? It is a deep conviction for me and my family... we believe-- as it says it Dueteronomy 22:5-- that women should not wear that which pertaineth to a man. I think this also goes with your article... doesn't almost EVERYONE in the world today wear pants and shorts? If we are supposed to be different from this world, then shouldn't we dress differently also? I think that is something that everone should think about. (as far as ladies go, I've never actually seen a man wear a skirt or dress :)) Like you said, it doesn't mean we can't have things like a computer, ipod, etc, that kind of stuff, but the way we appear to the world. I don't wear my hair short like a man, or wear pants like a man. I dress like a lady. Yes, our family gets lots of people staring at us.... especially in the grocery store... (common, Four of us girls all wearing skirts or dresses, and one boy wearing nice jeans with no holes (as seems to be today's style) and a Mom who also wears a skirt, and a Father who also wears nice clothing. ) But we don't mind that because we know we are different, and that we are hopefully being a testimony to the people that are all around us. "Dare to be Different" that is what everybody says, but are they really? That is what our family wants.... a difference-- for the better-- .

    Anyway... I did not intend to write that long of a post! Sorry. I hope you understand what I am trying to say. I will answer any questions if I can!

    Thanks Again Elspeth!

    Stepheny

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  2. Thanks Elspeth.
    Stepheny: I think Elspeth is talking here about much more than just clothing and what Christians should wear. The whole point of not 'in not of' the world is that our whole life and lifestyle should be so different that people can see we're without us having to dress differently. The point of not wearing that which pertaineth to a man is refering to that which pertaineth to a man in the culture you are in. Nowadays, trousers are normal wear for Men and Women, but ladies trousers are often distinguishable from mens. As far as men wearing skirts, you just come to scotland when there is a sports event on. Half the male population of the city wear skirts. And fortunately, I don't think there is any scottish men on this site who will kill me for refering to the Kilt as a skirt. Even though it is.
    But the point stands - a thousand years ago, the Saxons all wore long, knee-length tunics (or dresses, to you and me) - there was barely any difference between mens and womens clothing, particularly in the lower classes.
    Now, I think there are dangers in dressing differently from the world.
    Clothing can become more important than living for Christ. What does a poverty stricken new convert do? He only has his tracksuit and work boots. Do we make him go out and spend a months salary on a suit before he comes to worship with us? Do we make him throw out all his old clothing and buy new christian-approved clothing? Far better that his witness comes from his changed life than his changed outward appearance. What do his friends think when he brings them to church, and they see 100 somber people wearing suits and dresses. They'll feel more out of place than they would at the Grand National (sorry for all these british references Steph - It's a horse race where people go to be seen and all the ladies wear stupid hats).
    Clothing can become a measure of how Godly a person is.

    Sorry - i've rambled a bit. I hope my stream of consciousness random reactions make sense, and more importantly, i hope you don't think i'm getting at you, Stepheny, but if our lives stand out as different enough from the world in our every day life, then the world shouldn't even remember what we were wearing.

    Joel

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  3. Joel, I deffineltly agree with what you are saying! (don't worry, I enjoyed reading what you have to say.... I don't get offended easily! :))

    I agree that she is talking about much more... that is just one thing that I pointed out.

    Our witness towards others is deffinetly the most important thing, and I think that is what you should work on in being different first, but your outward appearance is also important. I helps if you look different! I don't think I'd be a very good witness if I was wearing tight pants, a low necked shirt and crazy hair like I just woke out of bed.... and then go and tell people I'm a christian and try to get them saved. ( please note that here in the US, our ways are much different, women wear the clothing that men wear. They usually dress just like I explained above, or in their PJ's. Have you ever been to US? Just wondering) I guess I didn't really make that clear. I wasn't putting down the inward appearance, I just was saying that if you look different and dress different, then people will see that difference, and know that something inside is different also.

    I know in Scotland, there are alot of different ways! Here in the US, women wear very immodest clothing.... Maybe in Scotland the women wear different from men.... but here in the US, you can barely tell women apart from men these days! I have never been to Scotland, but I know they wear kilts, and that kind of thing. Believe me... it would be a good thing if some of the people here would wear kilts! Men and Women today... they just don't dress, talk or act like people anymore! They act more like animals, that don't know anything. Men even wear earrings here.... I DON'T belive that is appropriate. Believe me, I will not turn someone like that down if they are interested in knowing how to go to heaven, because that is the most important thing, and I belive that is why we were put on this earth! I was talking about in the US, I've never personally seen men wearing skirts or dresses, :)

    I can understand what your saying when what you said are we going to send away someone that is dressed differently than us. When people come here to my church.... the often wear pants, shorts etc. We don't stare at them or think they are bad because of what there wearing. That isn't what I was trying to say. Of course, the most important thing is that they come to Christ first! Then we try to get them to come back to church.... and we let the Lord work on there hearts to dress differently, and such. We always tell them that "you just come as you are.... we don't want to change how you do things, we just want to change your soul, to turn it around for Christ."

    Anyway, I understand what you were trying to say. I hope I make more sense this time, sometimes it is so hard to find just the right words to get your point across.

    Thanks for writing!
    ~Stepheny~

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  4. Stepheny, thanks so much for commenting - it's great to have you as a regular reader.

    Just a couple of things to say about this. I admire your motives, Steph. Thank you for being a witness for the Lord in the way you dress. I do think, however, that we need to be careful when it comes to topics such as the way a Christian should dress. I agree that we need to consider the message that our clothes give out and I take your points on board.
    But we also need to be careful in the way we talk about our convictions on this topic. I know of no verse/theme/idea in the Bible that states point blank that women should not wear trousers and so we shouldn't talk as if it is a sin. I realise that different families and different individuals have different convictions about this and I think that is fine. This is a secondary (or even lower down) topic so let's not give it the status of more important things. As you say, Christ is our main focus and we need to strive to please Him in everything, even down to what we wear. This will look different for different people, just as the way I spend my money well, might not be the way you spend your money well but if we are spending our money for the glory of God, that is the most important thing.

    I hope that made sense. :)
    -Ruth

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  5. I'm very sorry.

    I thought about not answering to this, but I need to make myself clear. (not to be rude or critical in any way at all!)

    Just one side note, not to get into this whole thing again... but I want to make myself clear before I stop talking. I don't want anyone to take me in the wrong way:You said, "I don't know of any verse that states point blank that women should not wear trousers so we should not talk as if it is sin."

    I did not mean for it to come out that way if that is what you thought. I was not AT ALL trying to say it is a sin for women to wear pants, of course it's not. It's a conviction. I was simply saying that it is good to have a different appearance. That way folks can tell you apart from the non christians. Your testimony stands out in a totally different way. At least here in the US. :)

    Excuse me if I've offended you or this comment box. I did not mean for any of it to get personal or anything. I thought that this is what this comment box on Walking Worthy was for-- to have a disscusion. Well, I commented... and I stated what I thought about the post. Then someone else commented... so I commented back. I guess I got side tracked and started on something totally different. But There is no use for me to try and get my point across when nobody is agreeing with what I am saying. I was not trying to argue with anyone either.

    Please understand that I am not trying to be rude. Thank you for letting me comment.

    Sorry again.

    ~Stepheny~

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  6. BTW, Yes I understand different people have different ways. That is one thing that I was trying to say. I was pointing out what I thought about the matter.

    Again, I must have gone off course. So please excuse me, and I'm sorry.

    Thank you.

    Steph

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  7. Thanks for your comments folks! It is great to be able to discuss freely so many of the things that matter as we seek to live holy lives before our Father in Heaven.

    The WW team have decided to close this discussion but we would like to emphasise that being able to discuss this sort of thing is one of the main reasons that WW exists - so keep going.

    Dress is one of the issues on which the WW team differ but it is great to discuss these things anyway.

    Thanks, Stepheny for your comments - you have not offended anyone.

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