Which are you? Do you blend in or stand out? God calls you to be both.
There are dual, powerful forces in the advance of the gospel—presence and holiness. Both are needed.
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world (1 Peter 2:11,12 NLT).
We live among unbelievers—presence.
We live differently than those we live among—holiness.
These two forces can create a tension as we live them out.
As Christ-followers, we are called to be “holy,” which means “set apart,” different than the world around us. Jesus said of His disciples to His Father, “They do not belong to this world any more than I do . . . Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth” (John 17:16,18,19 NLT).
The Gospel flows through our lives when we:
- Live among unbelievers
- Live differently than those we live among
If we err on either of these forces, we will find ourselves unfruitful as conduits of the Good News. For the Gospel to spread in the normal pathways of our lives we must be present in our world and must be set apart from the rest of the pack in terms of our character and the quality of our life.
Which is most difficult or unnatural for you? Tell me why you think some people struggle with living out one or the other of these important forces.