Just as seen in the scriptures, the believer is not of the world. Though, this world seems to be his domain. His birthing forth into the family of God superimposes on him a superior sense of identity.
This is why the saints were addressed as foreigners, aliens in this world and called citizens of heaven.
This new identity ought to permeate every area of his existence and being.
It is also clear from the pages of the bible that the principles of this world and God’s kingdom are irreconcilable. The apostle makes strong statements like:
“friendship with the world is enmity with God ”,
“…if any man loves the world, the love of the father is not in him”.
These affirm that the system of the world is in opposition to the system of God’s kingdom.
Having seen the alienness of the believer in this world, let us go forward to explore the principal way that the world seeks to conform the believer to itself thereby rendering him ineffective.
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans gives us an invaluable clue to this issue. He implores the believer not to be conformed to the world but rather be transformed by the renewal of his mind. This then leads me to the main point of this article – refusing conformity to the world.
One should ask, how is the mind influenced? I would say thoughts, ideologies, words, are the main influencers of the mind. Needless to say, words are spoken ideas and thoughts.
The world seeks to conform the believer to itself by immersing him in its thought system. As aforementioned, the world system is often in opposition to the will of God and it should be expected that its ideologies are too.Dear believer, the world seeks to conform you to itself by immersing you in its thought system. You must engage the world critically, using the word of God as your reference point. Click To Tweet
I do not suggest that the believer should discard all forms of secular learning. Some secular theories and ideas are indeed helpful, say in the sciences, arts and humanities and the commercials. However, we must carefully consider the world’s philosophies about issues like the nature of divinity, the essence and purpose of humanity, and morality.
The believer must engage the world critically, using the word of God as his reference point.
The apostle Paul also wrote to the believers about spiritual warfare 2Cor 10. It is quite amusing that the apostle spoke of this contention as being against ideas that compete with the knowledge of Christ.
These are the strongholds in the heart of men that rebel and fight against the knowledge of God. These are the means by which the god of this world blind the eyes of men to the light of Christ.
Oftentimes, the believer unconsciously absorbs these ideas and thoughts as he contacts them in the world. It may be during secular learning at school or the workplace, social media or entertainment.
If the believer is not rooted in Christian doctrine, he would be swept away by these mental perversions. Just like the Apostle Paul warned, he may be taken captive by these empty and vain philosophies Col2:8.Dear Believer, If you are not rooted in Christian doctrine, you would be swept away by mental perversions. Just like the Apostle Paul warned, you may be taken captive by empty and vain philosophies. Click To Tweet
Here are four helpful tips for refusing conformity to the world:
- Pay attention to Christian doctrine: The believer must not be passive in growing in the knowledge of God. His apathy to sound doctrine will make him vulnerable to the world’s ideas. The believer must be passionate about growing in the precise counsel of God, it should be the desire of every believer to desire doctrinal correctness. Striving for sound doctrine should never be seen as a trait of contentiousness.
- Be committed to a sound local church: The local church is God’s platform for the building up of saints, it is the ground and pillar of truth.1Tim3:15 God has set in his church ministry gifts whose primary assignment is to bring men to the place of stability in Christian doctrine by teaching and oversight. Furthermore, there is safety in being in the company of believers. The company of believers is capable of recalibrating you and repositioning you for engaging with the world properly.
- Guard your social media space: Social media is worth giving attention to if we would guard against conformity to the world. We must be intentional in controlling the kind of information our hearts get exposed to in this no-man’s land.
It is my belief that believers should be interested in engaging folks with different sets of beliefs on these platforms. However, you do not have to engage with a school of thought that is seemingly too high-sounding for your present understanding of the Christian faith.
- Choose and follow your influencers wisely: Believers may not be able to rid themselves of influences from non-Christians completely.
In career pursuit, for example, we may be encouraged and motivated by the works of non-Christians. But even in this, we must choose wisely and critically engage with their philosophical orientations as we learn from them. We must continually remember that their philosophical outlook influences their work.
I do not advocate a form of isolationism but rather encourage believers to live critically. There is a need for us to engage with society and culture critically, we must view all things from the lens of God’s word.Dear Believer, do not be isolated from the world, but live critically in this world. Engage society, culture and ideas critically. View all things from the lens of God's word. Click To Tweet
We are not of this world, we must not only stand by the profession of our belief in Christ, we must also stand out in our ideologies. Men must see our ideals and reckon that we are indeed different. This is how we shine our light in this present world.