Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Strangers on Earth (Romans 12)

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2a).

The world, our flesh, and Satan stand in opposition to the Christian who wants to please God. The world is contrary to God’s ways; it hates the things of heaven and seeks to trap Christians in the earthly mire of human foolishness. Today we will examine what Scripture says about our relationship to the world and how we can escape its deadly allurements.

Before the crucifixion, Jesus prayed that God would protect His disciples. He said, “I have given them Your word; and the world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:14–17). Christians are no longer slaves to unrighteousness but are heirs to the kingdom of Christ. That kingdom is not of this world but is heavenly, eternal, and holy.

Just as God separated His people Israel, calling them holy and commanding them not to adopt the ways of the foreign nations around them, Christians have been set apart from the world. We live according to God’s commands and not according to the ways of this world. This does not mean that we hide from the world; rather, it teaches that in all circumstances we live righteously. You learn how to live according to God’s ways by studying His Word. If you desire to be obedient to God’s mandate that you not “love the world or anything in the world … For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15–16), then you must know His Word that you might be sanctified.

David prayed in Psalm 119 that God not remove His commands from him because he was a stranger on earth. All believers must remember that this life is but a journey to the next. We are not permanent residents here but strangers who maintain a citizenship in heaven. The world passes away, “but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

In what areas are you most tempted to conform to the standards of this world? What would be the cost of opposing that temptation? Are you willing to pay that price to obey Christ? Focus on one area and separate yourself from the ways of the world. Ask a friend to pray for you in this effort.