How Can We Live In The World And Not Become Like The World?

  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

(Matthew 5:38-48)

With everything we are seeing and hearing on the news, how is it possible to live in the world and not become like the world? How can we, alone, change wrong to right? How can we, alone, make a difference? To look on the surface and see all that is happening, it sounds impossible, but it’s really not, when we follow the Word of God. What we have to get past is our flesh, our emotions and the fact that we will go against the grain and possibly face persecution. Yet Christ gives us the answer to these questions in the scripture above. It is up to us to put it into action. To surrender our fear and worry to the Lord and trust that He will take care of us.

How can someone love another that has committed horrible crimes against someone else? How can someone pray for another when they are being persecuted by them? We think it’s impossible, but it’s not. Christ came to set the example on how to do this. His heart could have grown cold towards those who betrayed Him, made fun of Him, hurt Him, scourged Him and nailed Him to the cross, but it didn’t. He stayed close to His Father, God, kept His eyes focused on the mission and applied the scriptures to every situation. This is the example He set for us and we are to set that same example to others.

We are going to see many things that will touch our emotions heavily. But the Word of God in Romans 12:21 states the following:

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

We cannot allow ourselves to seek vengeance if we feel there has been an injustice. As Paul states in Romans 12:19:

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

When emotions are high due to trials and tribulations, we can tend to see things through dirty filters. Those dirty filters over our eyes can be hurt, anger, fear, rejection, unworthiness, etc. This does not mean we do not try to correct things we see wrong, it just means we should not try to make moves and decisions when our emotions are high. Any decision made when we are emotional will most likely be the wrong decision unless it’s a matter of life or death and we don’t have the time to think. Fear and anger are two powerful emotions that can cause us to make bad choices. We must seek God for direction at all times and allow Him to guide us in making the right moves or He may simply have us walk out the situation while He takes care of it. Sadly, many times we do not give Him the chance to work because we are impatient. There were many leaders in the Bible that when their nation (people) was being attacked or threatened, the leader went straight to the Lord for guidance. God either told them to wait on Him and He would take care of it or He told them to go to war and He would be behind them. That’s the key. If we make a move in a current situation and God isn’t behind it, our efforts will fail and chaos and more problems will come.

Christ has set an example for us on how to live in the world but not be a part of the world but the world considers those words as weak. Our strength does not come in how loud we can be, how physically strong we are, how much money we have or how popular we are. Our strength comes from the Lord and having self-control of our emotions during difficult times. It takes more strength to refrain from exploding in emotion than it does to actually explode.

Whatever your situation is or if you are watching situations in the world heat up, take a step back from it and check your heart. If you are angry and emotional or sad and discouraged, take the time to get with the Lord and surrender it to Him. Pray for the situation, for the people, including those doing the harm. We must not allow our hearts to grow cold during these tumultuous times or we will fall and make errors. It’s ok to be upset or angry, but we can’t allow it to cause us to commit sin as it states in Ephesians 4:26-27:

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”

We must always strive to do right and be obedient to God’s Word at all times. Take the time today to tell Him how you feel and surrender to Him all that concerns you. Allow God to either show you how to fix the problem the right way or to fix the problem Himself.

Lord, I need your strength and wisdom to do the right thing at all times. When I see so much wrong going on around me, help me to be the one to do right, setting an example for others. Even when I am persecuted and told that I am wrong, let me not be discouraged from doing what is right. Give me great discernment to know when to speak up and when to remain quiet. Take control of my emotions, Jesus, and grant me self-control. Help me to see situations through your eyes and tell me how to pray. Lord, keep me steadfast in You Word and standing firmly on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Help me to love and forgive as you do. I ask this in Jesus name…Amen.