Did you know that if you move to a different English-speaking country, chances are you will eventually start to sound like them? Your accent, your way of life, and even your mannerisms will fade into the country’s culture rather than your own. Your surroundings will begin to rub off on you little by little, whether you realize it or not.
That’s exactly how it is when Christians hang out with the world. Think about it: If you’ve ever been to a party that served alcohol, have you ever seen anyone praising and worshipping God? No one would do that. Parties are for dancing, drinking, and sinning. Everyone there is doing what their friends are doing; no one wants to stand out at a party by worshipping God.
Likewise, you wouldn’t see someone dancing, drinking, and sinning at church would you? No one would do that, even those who do go to parties every weekend.
Let’s say there’s a girl named Hannah who has been raised in a faith-filled family. Her Facebook says that she’s a Christian. She prays when she needs God’s help. She goes to church every Sunday. However, her friends wouldn’t know that she was a Christian based on her lifestyle. Why? Because Hannah acted just like the rest of them. The only difference between her and the world’s lifestyle was that she went to church every Sunday morning.
The illustration I gave of moving to a different country can apply to this as well. The more you hang out with a crowd, the more you will begin to sound, act, dress, and talk just like them.
God doesn’t call us to blend in with whatever surrounding we’re in. Revelation 3:16 says that those who are living a lukewarm lifestyle—partly living for God, partly living for the world—will be spit out of God’s mouth.
Satan controls the world (2 Corin. 4:4). So when half of us is living for the world, we’re actually living for Satan.
Maybe you have a few friends who aren’t Christians, but you’re hoping that by hanging out with them, you’ll be able to somehow lead them to God. However, despite how good your intentions may be, the longer you hang out with the world, the more you will begin to make compromises. You’ll start blending in with the world’s “culture” without even realizing it.
Adam and Eve, for example, had the greatest intentions to obey God. Yet after having one little talk with the serpent, they compromised their beliefs and disobeyed.
“But I am afraid that your minds will be led away from your true and pure following of Christ just as Eve was tricked by the snake with his evil ways.”
~2 Corinthians 11:3
God calls us to be in the world but not of it (John 15:19). In other words, it’s okay to technically live in the world. But once you start seeing your lifestyle as well as your behavior matching the world’s ways, there’s a problem.
2 Corinthians 6 says to “leave the corruption and compromise… don’t link up with those who will pollute you.” It also says not to join yourselves to those who do not believe, because “light and darkness cannot share together”. If you blend in with the darkness, how can you represent the light? You can’t live for both lifestyles. Instead, we are called to stand out.
“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
~Romans 12:2 (MSG)
We simply can’t experience God’s best for us if we’re not living for Him completely. No, living for God doesn’t mean occasionally posting a scripture on Facebook. It doesn’t mean saying the blessing before you eat a meal.
Living for God means being completely sold out for Him in everything that you do. Hebrews 11:6 says that he rewards those who seek him wholeheartedly, not those who seek him half-heartedly.
“We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him.”
Jesus came into the world to be a light for others. No, He didn’t stay clear of sinners. But he also didn’t blend in with them and act as if what they were doing was okay. Jesus’ whole purpose of coming into the world was to stand out. Let’s follow His example. Examine your behavior, examine the way you talk, examine your lifestyle. Are you giving God the glory by the way you’re living? Or are you blended?
Tessa Hall is a 19-year-old coffeeholic and author of Purple Moon. She is also the editor over the faith department for Temperance Magazine, as well as a contributing writer for Imagine Mag, More To Be, & Real Teen Faith. She loves acting, music, Starbucks, and her imperial Shih Tzu—who is named Brewer after a character in her book, as well as her love for coffee.