Not of this World
Not of this World
I’m always intrigued by the things people put on their cars, so I try to catch a glimpse of some as I drive. As you’ve observed, there are current and past political stickers, catchy quotes, stick figures of family and pets, “my wonderful child …” stickers, and more.
While driving to work recently, I noticed that the car in front and to the left of my car had several bumper stickers. As I came alongside, there was one bumper sticker on the back right window done in a cursive script, which made it harder to read but all the more intriguing. I finally deciphered the sticker, and it said, “Not of this world.” My first reaction was to read something clever into it and then realized that “not of this world” is a great biblical concept.
When we become followers of Jesus, we, in effect, become not of this world. In Jesus’ prayer for His disciples, He said,
"I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." John 17:14-19
So what does “not of this world” mean for the here and now?
The truth is we live in two realities. We live in this present world with all of its issues and challenges – personally, professionally and relationally. We also live in the heavenly realms as Ephesians reminds us.
In the current physical world, our highest goal is to bring God’s Kingdom to earth by living, loving and leading like Jesus in every sphere of our lives. This is often easier to say than to do. For example, when we’re given a choice between two decisions. What do we do? Sometimes, we’ll choose the higher road and respond as Jesus would. More often than not, I (not speaking for you), may choose the lesser of the two.
Years ago, there was a movie called Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. A young Harrison Ford played the role of Indiana Jones. In this particular movie, a scene is played in an ancient cave with an ancient knight, Indiana Jones and a German officer. The test was to choose the correct goblet that Jesus would have used during the last supper. The German officer chose an elegant gold goblet encrusted with jewels, then he dipped it in the water triumphantly declaring that he had won. Then he drank the water and immediately evaporated. The ancient knight then declared, “He choose poorly.”
I wonder how many times in life, we choose poorly and dip the wrong goblet in the water and declare we’ve won only to discover that life and meaning has evaporated away. One of the ways we can do that is when we neglect our family and loved ones over the expectations of work. This is as prevalent in the faith community as it is in the business world.
How do we effectively live in these two worlds? We can do this by integrating our faith into every aspect of our lives. When we choose to lead like Jesus in our workplaces, we’ll put righteousness, integrity and love ahead of getting ahead. We won’t take credit for work that others do but will lift up and honor those we lead.
We’ll stop and listen to our child or grandchild’s request rather than hurrying out the door to another church or work-related meeting. We will bring the Kingdom of God to earth each day.
An Out of this World Prayer
Several years ago, I received a copy of an adaptation of the Lord’s Prayer. It is a reminder of what it REALLY means when I pray:
I cannot say OUR if our lives have no room for others and their needs.
I cannot say FATHER if I do not demonstrate that relationship in my daily living.
I cannot say WHO ART IN HEAVEN if all my interest and pursuit are in earthly things.
I cannot say HALLOWED BE THY NAME if I do not have honor, glory, and trust in Him always.
I cannot say THY KINGDOM COME if I am unwilling to have His Kingdom grow in my heart, my home, my country and the world.
I cannot say THY WILL BE DONE if I am unwilling to have it done in my life.
I cannot say ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN unless I am truly ready to give myself to His service here and now.
I cannot say GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD by ignoring the genuine needs of others.
I cannot say FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone.
I cannot say LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.
I cannot say DELIVER US FROM EVIL if I am not prepared to fight with the weapons of Word and prayer.
I cannot say THINE IS THE KINGDOM if I do not give the King the obedience of a loyal subject.
I cannot say THINE IS THE GLORY if I am seeking my own glory first.
I cannot say FOREVER AND EVER if I am anxious about each day’s affairs.
I cannot say AMEN unless I honestly say “Cost what it may, this is my prayer.”
That is how we live "not of this world!"