By: Lou Yeboah
It’s easy to fall into the same rut in which the world runs. It’s easy to go with the flow and do as the unconverted world around us does. It is easy to adopt the attitude of Ambrose of Milan when he said, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Many Christians do just that. We adopt the ways of the world. We adopt their fashions, their speech, their standards, their entertainment, and nearly everything else they do. All the while, the Lord tells us that we are to be different from them in every way. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing…”[2 Corinthians 6:17].
Listen, if we are going to emulate anyone, let it be the Lord. If we are looking for an example to follow, let us look no farther than the Lord God Almighty. As Christians we are told by the Bible to live holy lives that reflect the nature of God. We are to separate ourselves from actions, influences, or people that will hinder our service to God. We should be like a thermostat that regulates the temperature around us rather than a thermometer that merely records the temperature. Ought not Christian to be different? Ought not we to be distinct, separate, not the same, out of the ordinary, unusual? Christ was distinct, separate, out of the ordinary, and he called his followers to be like him. Listen, Holiness is not an option. It is mandatory.
Know that everything we say, and everything we do, must be governed by who’s we are, and by who we are. Granted, there was a time in our lives when we were no different from the world around us. We were lost like them. We lived like them. We acted like them. We talked like them. We did so because we were them. But when Jesus saved us by His grace, He transformed us, by His power, through the new birth, into a new creature, [2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Pet. 1:23]. He delivered us from the bondage of the old life. Now, we do not have to live like the world lives. We do not have to act, talk, walk, or be like them in any way. We have the capacity, through Christ, to live new lives that glorify and honor God. The warnings are clear. The Bible says in [Romans 12:2] “Do not be conformed to this world.”
The whole point here is that God expects His people to live a certain way. He has reasons for what He demands, and there are consequences for those who disobey. If we want the blessings of God to be on our lives, then we must live holy, clean lives to His glory. If we don’t, we will certainly face His chastisement. An important teaching in the Bible is about believers being separated from sin and the ungodly activities of the world as much as possible. It is taught all throughout the Old Testament. God’s people, particularly Israel, were to keep their distance from the heathen so they would not be exposed or tempted by the ungodly involvement in sin. For centuries, separation from sin and even the “… appearance of evil …” (I Thessalonians 5:22) were preached from most pulpits and practiced by most people. Christians lived differently. They spoke differently. They dressed differently. They believed differently. They acted and thought differently. They were ashamed, as were their families, when they were involved in sin or even imitated the lifestyles of the unsaved. God has not changed one bit since He had the words penned in [Lev. 20:7].
With a clear command from the Lord, we are commanded not to partake of the world’s ways. The world has one pattern of living; we who know the Lord have another. We are not to live like them on any level. We have to live among them, but we do not have to live like them.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children,” [Eph. 5:1]. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked,” [1 John 2:6].
In the World, But Not of It!
As the late Billy Graham once said, “Christians are like the Gulf Stream, which is in the ocean and yet not part of it. This mysterious current defies the mighty Atlantic, ignores its tides, and flows steadily upon its course. Its color is different, being a deeper blue. Its temperature is different, being warmer. Its direction is different, being from south to north. It is in the ocean, and yet it is not part of it.
…”You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. [1 peter 2Z:9-
May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. [1 Thessalonians 5:23].