By Megan Evans
If you’ve been around church culture long enough, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “One foot in the world, one foot in the kingdom.” This is usually in reference to a person who is going through the motions of the Christian lifestyle (going to church, gathering with other believers, etc.) but is hanging onto a part of his or her life that does not want to be given up.
I’m afraid this phrase can be used to identify many Christians today, including myself. I want Jesus and the World. But I cannot have both.
We are increasingly getting our standards, views, and beliefs from the world: the Internet (specifically social media), our friends and family, politicians, celebrities, the list goes on and on. These things and people are not inherently bad in and of themselves, but they are changeable. Opinions change. Political views change. People change. Even what is right and wrong in a moral sense will change. In a time like this, as the church, we have to be diligent to get our standards, views, and beliefs from what is steadfast, unchanging, and constant: The Word of God. Scripture is inspired by the one who is “…the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
1 John 3:13 says, “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” As Christians, we are not called to agree with the world. We are called to service, sacrifice, humility, giving away of one’s things, and weakness, all characteristics that the world does not uphold. It is much easier to want to gossip about our friends instead of serve them. It is much easier to cheat on our taxes than to learn how to better steward our finances. It is easier to talk poorly about a coworker to get that promotion for yourself than to joyfully want it for them.
It is also easier to agree with a friend’s opposing view out of fear of what will happen to your relationship. James 4:4 references this as adultery with God himself, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” When you overhear that conversation at work between a friend telling another to divorce her husband to get back at him, you don’t want those friends to hate you. It is much easier to agree than to challenge.
When you open your wallet to see that business card staring at you, remembering your boss never checks the bank statements, it is much easier to spend someone else’s money. When you remember your girlfriend’s parents are out of town as your dropping her off from a date, it is much easier to let desire win. But Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
If you have a relationship with Christ you have the Spirit dwelling within you, giving you discernment of what is pleasing to the Lord just by asking. You have the Word of God, an active tool for you to grow in Godliness. What would it look like for you to cry out to him to ask for a mind set on him? What would it look like for you to read your bible for daily wisdom on how to serve him? I think it would look like you looking completely different in your friendships, your workplaces, and your homes.
The Christian life isn’t easy. We cannot passively work at our faith. The Lord graciously gives us the strength to battle our flesh, to battle what the world is crying out for us to hold onto. Hebrews 6:10-20 is a picture of the strength we have through God.
We are able to stand firm with the armor of God. We have the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness of the Gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). This isn’t a cutesy thing we teach our children, but a real battle of Godliness versus flesh that the Lord has more than equipped us for. Verse 18 says that we can obtain these things through prayer and supplication. Prayer, not silence. Begging, not standing by. Active, not passive.
Church, let’s ask ourselves and give those around us the permission to ask us what part of the world our feet are stuck in. At first it might feel like a loss, but it is the greatest gain. You are giving up the world and gaining the Kingdom.