No Longer of it, but Living Free In It

I’m finishing up today in Harrisburg, PA, where I’ve spent the weekend with a broad spectrum of folks sorting out what it means to live deeply in the life of Jesus and how to share in that life with other believers and how to share it with people around us who do not know him. It’s been a wonderful time and I’ve really been blessed to be alongside some people I was with before here a couple of years ago, and lots of new ones I’m just getting to know.

On the flight out here I read the current issue of Christianity Today. It has a review of Barna’s Revolution that gives a distorted view of the book and a caustic reaction to it. That’s too bad. Now more than ever we need to be talking as believers about the effectiveness of the institutions we’ve inherited and what might we do about that, rather than dividing into a new faction between those who champion the congregational model and those who are finding life in alternatives.

But there was one quote from this issue of the magazine that caught my eye and has captured my heart over recent days. In an otherwise tedious article about “How the Kingdom Comes†by Michael S. Horton, I found this quote:

Instead of being in the world but not of it,
We easily become of the world but not in it.

He’s speaking about believers who embrace the world’s values closeted behind religious terminology. We’re still looking for power, money, convenience and fulfilling our preferences, but we use religion to do it and end up only gathering in our own ghettos with people we consider like-minded. We end up more like the world, but no longer among it to demonstrate the life of God. Religion does that. It makes us irrelevant in the world and no longer accessible to it. which, as long as we’re caught up in religion, might be a good thing.

But it’s not what he has in mind. Jesus wants to transform us so we are no longer of the world. Instead we are citizens of a more incredible kingdom and live in that reality the same way he did—filled with the Father’s love and demonstrating that to others. Then we won’t be secluded from the world in our Christian activities, but among the world by the way we go about our jobs and lives in our communities—in the world, but no longer of it!

I love that and want that to be increasingly true of how I live in him, and in the world where he has put me.

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