Being in the world
Another reflection from my friend Davy Blackburn
Being in the world
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.
Being in the world and being of the world are two different things. Likewise, it is fine to befriend unbelievers. But we are challenged not to be like those who love to do wrong. It is easy to declare as a Christian, I do not steal or lie or cheat. Yet I have seen many people, shamefully myself also, who may mock someone, or join in idle gossip about a work colleague. Is this just our way of trying to fit in? We are not to fit into the world, we are to be a light in the world. Matt 5:16 says ‘In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ In many cases I have observed non-believers to be far more compliant with rules and laws than Christians. I have heard Christian friends boast of how fast they drove their car and how they rarely observe speed limits. They never seem repentant or unduly worried by this.
It is true that we are not ultimately judged by the law, for if we were none of us would stand. But how we act and show ourselves to others may have an effect on whether that person should feel following Christ is for them or not.
I remember instances before I became a Christian where I had contact with believers. Some of these instances would have put me off being a Christian altogether. One of the times did stick out in my mind though. I was working in a scrapyard in Parkhead in Glasgow. It was a two-man job and a new man was on with me that night. At around 10pm, he declared to me that it was his time of night for prayer and if I felt uneasy, I could go for a walk. I stayed and was impressed that he prayed without feeling at all awkward at me being there. He even prayed for me who he didn’t know well.
That stuck with me. It didn’t make me a believer but reading over this verse from Psalm 1, I can see that the Christian who is in the world has to mind little who they may be in company with at any given time, and more how they may influence the person they happen to be with.
Jesus was this way with Mary who washed his feet in John 12. He cared little of what others thought of Mary, rather he was concerned about what Mary thought of him. If we find ourselves paying too much attention to what others think of us, perhaps we would do well to remember our Lord looking down on us and asking the question, am I displaying the love of Christ in my interactions today?