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FOCUS OF THE MONTH: BEING IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF THE WORLD
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It’s a tough assignment, to be “in the world but not of the world.” How can we operate as followers of Jesus in this world without allowing ourselves to belong to it? Few topics are more important to discuss with our children today.
For each week, ask the question over an unhurried meal. Let the children think about it and then offer their own answers. The children should talk more than the parents. Throughout the week, offer the different reasons highlighted and let the children discuss them. (Parents, read through the relevant Bible passages in advance.) Challenge the children to look up other verses addressing the question. Do the same for the following questions each week for the month.
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOUR FAMILY GROW
What does the Bible mean when it talks about “the world”?
Read: Genesis 1:27-31, John 7:7 and 8:23-26, 1 Corinthians 1:20-28
- When God created the world, He said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
- We are a part of God’s world, His creation, and are supposed to be good stewards of it and enjoy its privileges.
- Since the Fall, Satan has made himself “the prince of this world” (John 12:31) — it is falling under the corruption of his forces that Jesus warns us against.
- The world wants to do things its own way, not God’s way: that is the source of the entire problem.
- We need to be careful about the people and activities in the world that we associate with (become part “of”) because even people who are nice and agreeable to spend time with may lead us away from God if they believe in putting themselves first and not Him.
Why are we to be no longer “of the world”?
Read: John 14:15-15:26 and 15:33
- We now belong to God’s Kingdom, redeemed by Jesus, and our loyalty is due to Jesus, not the natural world currently corrupted by the devil.
- The world’s way of solving problems disregards faith in God’s unfailing Providence and Mercy — if one gets caught up in the world’s way of doing things, he or she will frequently overlook the better solutions that God has for living to the fullest.
- This world is not permanent — our place in Heaven with Christ is, and we must operate on the principle that our actions now have eternal consequences rather than only impacting this world today.
- We have a mission, as Christ’s servants, to carry His gospel of redemption to the world and do His work in it. We cannot know how to approach the world with the Good News unless we can observe it from an outside perspective.
How are we supposed to go about being “in the world but not of the world”?
Read: John 9:3-5 and 11:9, Romans 13:11-12, 2 Thessalonians 5:1-28
- Read the Bible and follow Jesus’ example in living in this world while still being a full citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Pray for guidance in making the right decisions, rather than following what the world does.
- Look at people around you, not simply as other dwellers on this planet, but as potential fellow believers belonging to the Kingdom.
- Stay on guard; be watchful. The Bible warns us to stay alert and awake for the time of Christ’s coming again. If we are doing our best to follow Him closely, and paying attention to what is going on around us, it will become clear what actions we need to take against the dangers in the world today.
What is it like living as a sojourner from Christ’s Kingdom on this earth, “in the world but not of the world”?
Read: John 13:34-35 and 17:9-26, 1 Corinthians 9:1-10:33, Hebrews 11:1-16
- We see things differently than the world: we see how God wants the world to be and are prepared to work and change things, instead of merely accepting “the way it is”.
- We can enjoy God’s creation fully, knowing that His world was made for us and that it is right for us to take pleasure in its benefits, providing we use them to His glory.
- Life becomes more exciting: we are “working undercover” for a mission that no one except fellow disciples understand; the world becomes a challenge to be met and overcome, rather than a burden controlling us.
- We know that we belong to God’s Kingdom, and we can be confident that no matter what happens in this world, He is winning in the end.
- But since we do still live in this world, we need to share Jesus with others, so that He may say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant”(Matthew 25:23).