Day 26 – In But Not Of
How do I maintain my equilibrium in daily living?
One of the great challenges of the Christian life is to relate to the world around us, especially in situations where co-workers and friends behave in ways that are alien to Christian norms. As we interact with others, we can err in two ways:
One is to isolate, to just stay to ourselves. But what if our isolation robs others of the godly influence we can have in their lives? Could we be the only “bible” they are reading?
The other error is to assimilate, to be just like those around us. The Bible instructs us to stand apart on matters that are non-negotiable, yet remain flexible and accessible in ways that engage us with others (see Malachi 3:18, 1 Corinthians 9:19–22).
Jesus modeled a balanced approach. He neither isolated nor assimilated. He related to people where they were, yet without compromise.
Billy Graham said we should be like the Gulf Stream as it flows through the chilly waters of the Atlantic: “The Gulf Stream is in the ocean, and yet it is not a part of it. Believers are in the world, and yet they must not be absorbed by it.” Thus, we are to retain our identity and purpose, but also affect the surrounding climate. We are to be in the world but not of it.
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. As you sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (John 17:16, 18).