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That's out of this world!

We are currently in a multi-week series called Real Faith. When we began this project almost a year ago, we sent out a topic survey to over 8,000 people, and, by far, the most requested topics were topics of faith and the Christian life. We are going to have a lot of fun together looking at different areas of Christianity and our Faith and we are so glad you're along for the ride with us!

Today's topic is "Being in the World, not of it" and we are excited to hear from the Father of our ministries, Dale Forehand, today! Dale has written a practical blog about being in the world while not being of the world that we believe will bring clarity and understanding to this core piece of the Christian life.

Dale and Jena Forehand are the founders of Stained Glass Ministries a non-profit 501 C3 ministry. They offer conferences and resources to build real relationships.

To find out more about their amazing grace story of marriage, divorce, and re-marriage to one another visit their website

You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram at @daleandjena

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In John 13 Jesus has just finished washing his disciples’ feet. He will soon leave the upper room and make his way to the Garden of Gethsemane. As this night continues, he speaks with them about his betrayal, Peter’s denial, the way to the Father, the power of abiding in Christ, and the good news that the Holy Spirit will come.

When we reach John 17, we find Jesus praying for his disciples. He would soon leave them and return to His Father. In John 17:6-19 we discover his heartfelt passion and love for his disciples as he prays. But he not only prays for them, but in John 17:20-26 he also prays for all who will believe after he is crucified, resurrected, and ascends to his Father in Glory. Intertwined in this prayer is the call to be in the world but not of it.

Before we discover some practical ways to be in the world but not of it, it's important to know that when scripture uses the word “world” it is used in one of 3 ways: the people, the planet, and a system.

For example, John 1:9-10 uses the word world in all 3 ways: “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world (the planet). He was in the world (the system), and though the world (the planet) was made through him, the world (the people) did not recognize him. (emphasis added)

I John 5:19 tells us “We know that we are children of God and that the whole world (system) is under the control of the evil one.” (emphasis added)

1 John 2:15-17 instructs us “Do not love the world (system) or anything in the world (system). If anyone loves the world (system), love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world (system) — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world (system). The world (system) and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (emphasis added)

James 4:4 reminds us “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world (system) means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world (system) becomes an enemy of God. (emphasis added)

Now, as you read Jesus’ prayer in John 17:14-19, read it through the lenses of a world system that disciples of Christ are being sent into! This is why Jesus prayed not to take his disciples out of the world but that his disciples would be protected by the evil one who controls, oversees, rules, and operates a world system that is designed to oppose every purpose of God.

“I have given them your word and the world (the system) has hated them, for they are not of the world (system) any more than I am of the world (system). My prayer is not that you take them out of the world (system) but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world (system), even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world(system), I have sent them into the world (system). For them, I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (emphasis added)

Read his words again - as you sent me into the world I have sent them into the world.

Jesus himself asked his Heavenly Father to protect us as we go into the world, that we might be in it, but not of it

So, what is this world system and how does it operate? The world system is anything that sets itself up against the purposes and plan of God for his children (2 Cor. 10:5) by feeding on the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).

The word “lust” means desire, craving, and longing for what is forbidden. The word “flesh” refers to our carnal nature that wants to live independent of God’s presence, God’s Word, God’s promises, God’s power, God’s presence, and God’s purposes.

When scripture refers to “eyes” it often refers to an entryway into our heart and soul. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matt. 6:22-23).

What you look at, or gaze upon, leads your heart and soul

into either light or darkness.

Pride refers to the part of us that wants to be completely in charge of our own destiny, personal glory, and self-promotion.

These three: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are deeply rooted in everything Satan sets up as part of his world system. Everything he does is to get you to act on your lustful, fleshly, independent, prideful desires. Just look around you and you will see his system operating in full force with jealousy, covetousness, sexual sin, greed, materialism, pride, selfishness, etc. Satan’s world system is operating at full throttle, as he roams the earth seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

But, as followers of Christ, we are called to be separate from the system. This was Jesus’ prayer that we would be “sanctified” or separate. But how? Jesus himself gave the answer: “sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” This one sentence offers you two specific ways you can be in the world but not of it!

First, you can be in the world, but not of the world

by knowing and walking in “truth.

Scripture says you shall “know the truth” and the “truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Jesus says of himself in John 14:6 that HE is the way and HE is the truth. We would submit that truth, then, is more about knowing the person of Jesus rather than knowing information about Jesus. You become sanctified, set apart by truth the more you get to know Jesus in an intimate, personal, and powerful way. The more you get to know Jesus, the more you will be able to be in the world, but not of it!

Second, you can be in the world, but not of the world

by being in God's Word.

You have to be in God’s Word so you can discover the truth for every situation and every temptation you face inside the system. If you didn’t read our blogs on reading and studying God’s word, we encourage you to do so. And again, Jesus is the word (see John 1:1) so the more you get into the word, the more the word gets into you. The more the word gets into you, the stronger you will be in the world without having to be of it.

Yes, we know this sounds like a Sunday school answer to a real-world system that is evil, pervasive, rampant, and trying to destroy the people of God. Buy, the truth is, God’s word has the answer for everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

This leaves us with the most important part of this blog: why should you not be of the world? Simply put, because you belong to King Jesus.

You are part of a different Kingdom. (Colossians 1:13)

You are an alien and stranger, this is not your home. (1 Peter 2:11)

Remember, you are a new creation in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17)

You are a child of God, with a great purpose, here to make a difference. (Eph. 2:10)

You are to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth (Matt. 6:10).

If you remember who you are, whose you are, and what Christ has done for you, then your heart's desire will be to be in, not of, the world

After all, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

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