The Christian’s Place in this World

People throughout history have often asked themselves the question, “What is my place in this world?” Since Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden, humanity has been separated from God. However, in every person there is an inner longing to be part of something greater than ourselves, a higher purpose. People may pursue this purpose by doing charitable works, education, reading self-help books or taking up a social cause. While these pursuits are not inherently bad in themselves, apart from a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, they will not draw us closer to God. It is in a relationship with Christ and the study of the Bible where we begin to find our true identity and purpose. For the Christian, our place in the current world is to live our lives for Christ, proclaim His truth, and help bring others into His kingdom.

Before his trial and crucifixion, Jesus prayed this prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane:

 “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of this world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:14-18, KJV).

Romans 12:2 reminds us that we need to renew our minds with God’s Word that we may know God’s will for us. It is also through the Word that we come to know that this world is only temporary and we should be looking for our heavenly home, as did the fathers of our faith.

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth…But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13, 16, KJV).

As Christians, our focus should not be on pursuing worldly goals, but pursuing God and His kingdom as Jesus mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:33). We should not walk with one foot in the world and one foot with God. We are to be all in for God. If we are not careful, we can allow ourselves to be overtaken by the things of this present world and become “worldly Christians,” whereby we proclaim the Name of Christ, but live as the secular world lives.

Chasing after the world can put us at odds with God

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man 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 pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (1 John 2:15-17, KJV).

 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4, KJV).

The pursuit of worldly things causes us to be unfruitful in our Christian walk

 “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word: and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word and he becometh unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22, KJV).

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, KJV).

We must not allow ourselves to be polluted by this present world

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:3-4, KJV).

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15, KJV).

We must live our lives for Christ and His blessed hope

 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, KJV).

 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:11-14, KJV).

The world is discouraging and growing more embittered with each passing day until the return of our Savior Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, we must continue to pursue God and walk in His ways despite of the increasing wickedness of this present world. Do not let your love grow cold. Do not allow the world to beat you down. May the God of grace and peace be with you all.

The Rulers of Darkness

Politics is a divisive issue in our world. Regular people and politicians alike take extreme viewpoints on the issues with seemingly no middle ground. Just a cursory scroll through your social media accounts can reveal the political stances of your family, friends, and followers. Behind every political party and political issue lies an agenda of a particular group of people. Though people speak out for and against the visible people of the political causes- elected officials, activists, celebrities, protestors, etc., do you consider who is really “pulling the strings” behind the scenes?

Luke chapter 4 (also Matthew chapter 4) tells the story of Jesus’ temptation by Satan. It is the second temptation that will be discussed.

“Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I will give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’” (Luke 4:5-8, NKJV).

Notice when the devil, speaking of the authority of the world’s governments said, “for this has been delivered to me,” Jesus did not correct him, but rebuked Satan when he demanded to be worshipped. When people and governments choose not to live under God’s authority and Word, they give Satan the right to rule in their lives, whether it is through habitual sin or flat-out worship of the devil. When this happens, the door is open to rampant immorality and open rebellion to God’s Word.

In 1 Samuel chapter 8, Israel rejects Samuel’s leadership and asks for a king to rule over them. Samuel goes to the Lord about Israel’s request and the Lord informs him that the people are not rejecting Samuel’s leadership, but God’s leadership. However, God sends Samuel back with a warning to the people concerning a king- their children would be enlisted in the king’s service, their property would be seized, and the people would face heavy taxes.

When Jesus went to the cross, died and was resurrected, the penalty was not only paid for our sins and the whole of humanity, but judgment was also pronounced on Satan and his kingdoms. Though Satan’s final judgment will be carried out after the millennial reign of Christ, he still has influence over the world’s system of government. Several times throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to Satan as “the prince of this world.”

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:31-32, KJV).

“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” (John 14:30, KJV).

“Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16:11, KJV).

The Apostle Paul also spoke of Satan’s influence in the world’s system. “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, KJV).

Paul spoke concerning of the past lives of the believers at Ephesus and the spirit at work in the world: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:2, KJV).

As Christians we live in the world, but are not of the world. Christians must be mindful that the battle is not against other people or against political leaders, but against evil spiritual forces.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12, KJV).

The prophet Daniel had such an encounter with such principalities and powers. Daniel chapter 10 describes how Daniel sought God, praying and fasting for three weeks. Daniel had a vision and was told by an angel that God had heard his prayer on day one, but the angel fought with “prince of the kingdom of Persia” for twenty-one days and defeated the prince with the help of the archangel Michael. (Daniel 10:12-13). This same angel tells Daniel that after the prince of Persia, the prince of Greece will come. (Daniel 10:20). From a study of secular and biblical history, we know that the Persian Empire ceased to be the dominant world empire when it was defeated by Alexander the Great of Greece. The Bible shows us that Satan has influence in both ancient and current world affairs. Revelation 13 speaks of how Satan will give the antichrist the authority to rule.

Though we truly live in perilous times, I believe the world and its governments will grow more and more morally corrupt and will turn away from God even more. As the church of the Living God, we must be mindful of the times and remain steadfast. We must not let our hearts be troubled, no matter what laws are passed or what the courts decide. Satan desires to be worshipped and he will find any means necessary. Persecution will come, but we have overcome the world because Christ has overcome the world. Jesus is coming soon and all things will be made right.

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.’” (Revelation 11:15, KJV).