Summary: We are in the world but are not be 'of it', in the sense of having the same outlook and values of non-Christians. We are not called to be pious and sanctimonious, but to be 'Christ-minded', being 'different' in such a way that we are 'lights' to those aro
Paul wrote in Colossian 3:2
‘Set your minds on things that are above,
not on things that are on earth’
‘for you have died’ – he meant spiritually;
he meant to the things that the world, those around us, consider important.
This reinforces what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:
‘Do not be anxious about your life – what you will eat
or what you will drink,
nor about your body’
like what should I wear.
Life is more important than food and clothing.
We are ‘in the world’, we have to live and work and pay our bills,
and obey the law of the land,
but we are not to be ‘of the world’,
with the same outlook, aims, and values, of the unsaved.
We are to be ‘lights’ to them,
not by being pious and sanctimonious
but by being Christ-like
in what we say and do.
It is easy to be like everyone else, and this is not always bad,
but it is if we lose sight of Christ, and of God’s standards of morality and behaviour.
We can then we find ourselves in danger of being sidetracked in our Christian walk,
or going off the rails altogether.
In the 1970’s we wore jackets with wide lapels, and flared trousers,
sideburns and thick-rimmed glasses.
That was the fashion then.
Anyone who did not look or dress like that was unfashionable.
In the 50’s, families went camping, but in the 70’s Spain was the “in-place
Drivers rushed out and bought hatchback cars in the 80’s.
Kids got their parents to buy them “Game Boys”.
In the 90’s the fashion was for vegetarian and low fat foods and unleaded petrol.
In the ‘noughties’ we all had to become ‘Green’.
These things might still be part of our lives and culture for many years,
but may seem weird once they pass their “sell-by date” in just a few months’ time.
Fashion is like the weather, it keeps on changing, in contrast to David’s words in Ps 26:1
‘I have trusted in the Lord without wavering’, which is why he can say in v.2
that he has nothing to fear from God testing him and examining his heart and his mind.
One of the words that occurs many times in the Bible is ‘Chesed’,
the “steadfast or “constant” or ‘continual” love of God.
God has many attributes, and they are all positive.
He loves, He forgives, He strengthens, He guides, and the wonderful thing is
that while we do these things now and again, when they suit our mood or circumstances,
God does them all the time. His mind is always fixed on “Good”.
As Christians we should strive to be Godlike, Christ-like, and this means having a
steadiness or steadfastness of mind,
which is the result of the Holy Spirit working within us,
We know from experience that people do not like, and cannot trust,
those who keep changing their minds;
those who say one thing and do another; people who quickly lose sight of their principles;
people who are unreliable and undependable.
We use the word “mind’ quite a lot, saying things like “I’m going out of my mind
with worry”, “What’s on your mind”, and keep your mind on the job”.
What then do we mean by mind?
If we have an illness of the mind, we might be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist.
The root of these words is “psyche”, and this is a Greek word which is also translated
so “mind’, “soul” and even “heart’ are related,
for when we say “I love you with all my heart”
we don’t mean “I love you with my circulatory organ, my blood pump”,
we mean “I love you with all my mind, personality, emotions, essential being”,
and this is “psyche” or “soul”.
So, when we say our “soul” lives on after death, we mean our essence, our thoughts,
our memories, our personality, our mind, continues to exist in some way.
In James’ Letter, chap 1 v. 6, we can read the famous words “don’t be a doubter,
because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind”.
God wants us to be steady-minded I right-minded at all times, and in 1 v. 8,
“the Lord will not answer the prayers of a double-minded man who is unstable
in all he does”.
God is sure and steadfast and wants us to be like Him, like a well-anchored ship,
like a house built upon a rock.
We have to be single-minded, but not stiff-necked and hard of heart like the Pharisees.
Our minds, as one hymn says, should be “stayed upon Jehovah”,
regardless of the knocks and attacks of the world, the flesh and the devil.
The Bible has dozens of examples of people not giving their minds to God,