Summary: The world seeks to mold the believer to its pattern in every area of life. God wants His children to be transformed by the renewing of their minds.
COMMANDED TO BE DIFFERENT
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people." 17 "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NIV)
The command to be different from the world was given to believers (as shown in Romans 1:7 and 2 Corinthians 1:2). It was not given to, nor intended for, unbelievers. It was to challenge the child of God to live the Christian life. The unbeliever cannot live a life that if pleasing to God for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). No matter how good or moral a person is, if they reject the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, that person lives constantly under the wrath of God (John 3:36).
The Scripture commands us thusly, "Do not love the world or anything in the world, if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15) Compare Colossians 3:1-3 and Philippians 3:20. Why such a blunt declaration? Because the world is a powerful enemy we must face every day of our life. The world seeks to mold, or bring into conformity, the believer to its pattern in every area of life. God wants His children to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. As long as we live in this world, we will have some “worldly residue” to dispose of, thus the command to renew our minds.
THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD OUT-THINK THE WORLD.
The child of God is to think in terms of eternity. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV)
THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD OUT-LIVE THE WORLD The Christian should not measure life by longevity but by what we have done for God. The unbeliever’s life is centered on carnal pleasure, earthly riches and popularity. The Lord commands the Christian to “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NASB)
THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD OUT-DIE THE WORLD
Paul said: “I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31). We are to die unto self that we may live unto Christ. Paul went on to say: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD OUT-LOVE THE WORLD
The world loves its own but the Christian’s love should know no horizon. Our Lord taught in the Sermon on the Mount: "You have heard that it was said, ’You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Matthew 5:43-44 (NKJV)
One may ask, “How can anyone do all this?” The answer is found in modeling our life after the example of our Lord. Perhaps it is a little out-dated, and jaded to many, the question that some years ago was circulating around the Christian community, “What Would Jesus Do?” That question is a valid one that we need to continually ask ourselves.