They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:16-18
It is somewhat surreal to think and reassuring to know, that one day I will awake, not in this world, but in heaven. In the meantime, I am left with a mission from God to stay engaged in secular society. My role is not to be spiritually sterilized by modern mores that miss Christ’s heart, but to fertilize faith in God. The easier route is to check out of culture and check in exclusively with the saints. But I miss advertising Jesus if I stay secluded and isolated from society and culture. Beloved like a thermostat regulates a room’s temperature, so my engagement in this life can keep warm the culture’s conversation about the Lord.
Jesus describes to His disciples this ongoing tension of being an influencer for good while not being influenced by bad. Sin does not need to be experienced to know it’s harmful, just like you don't have to break a bone yourself to know it hurts. Thus, the task of these early followers of Jesus was to bring faith in God to a godless society and culture. Not just faith in God, but faith in God through His son Jesus Christ. Their divine mission was to live and proclaim the gospel so believers of the good news changed for good, and thus, the culture changed for good. The disciples remained in the world so the world would embrace its Savior (See Matthew 5:13).
We are called to be salt and light for our Lord Jesus. Does our life in Christ engage other lives for Christ? Or, are we so worldly minded we’ve lost our influence for the Lord? If a person’s behavior becomes better when they are around you, you’re salt. If they respect and love God because you respect and love God, you’re light. If your workplace values reflect the values of your heavenly Father, you’re so tasty. If followers of Jesus leveraged their circle of influence for Christ, there would be a revolution of righteousness.
This ongoing tension of being in the world but not of the world keeps us dependent on Jesus and His Spirit which lives in us. Indeed, He prays for us to walk this fine line of being and doing. Without these two pressure points, we would drift through life self-reliant and ineffective. It’s from our time spent with the Lord that we understand how to spend our time with people. Inviting the world into our world requires trust. When we take our world into the world, it requires radical trust. Christ compounds our faith investment into the fruit of saved souls and changed lives. Be in it to win it.