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Jesus prayed on behalf of His disciples not that they should be taken out of the world, but that they might not be of the world (Jn. 17:15,16). He prayed that His followers might resist the devil. That means that although we cannot totally isolate ourselves from worldly influences, we should not participate in the sins that are around us in the world. We should live on a higher plane of purity than the world.
God calls us to be holy. Peter wrote, "But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.' And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile" (1 Pt. 1:15-17). Holiness means being distinctive, special, reserved solely for God's use. It requires us to be different.
There is no point in being different just to be different, of course. Being unlike others has no inherent value. But if the principles, values, character, and conduct of those around us is out of sync with the virtues of godliness, then being godly requires being different. There is no way around it.
We are to be mindful that we are the temple of God: "For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, 'I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty'" (2 Cor. 6:16-18).
Remaining uncontaminated by the world should not involve self-righteousness on our part. The idea is not that we should look down our noses at those whom we consider morally inferior to us. But while maintaining a proper humility, we should still strive to keep clear of the sins for which the world is noted. Paul wrote that we should "cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1). Let's make this a week of thinking about "bringing holiness to completion."
Monday: Titus 2:11-14
Key Idea: Christ died not only to forgive us of our sins but to redeem us from sin itself.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.11, what does Paul say has "appeared"? In v.12, what does he say this teaches or trains us to do? In v.14, what does the word "redeem" mean? From what does Christ want to redeem us?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:26.
Tuesday: 1 John 2:15-17
Key Idea: We should not love the world.
Questions for Family Growth: Since Christ taught us to love everybody, what does it mean that we should not love "the world." In v.16, what three things are said to be in the world? What do each of these mean?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:27.
Wednesday: Romans 12:1,2
Key Idea: We should not be conformed to the world.
Questions for Family Growth: How is it that we can present our bodies "a living sacrifice" to God? What is the difference between being "conformed" and "transformed" in our thinking? How do we "renew" our minds?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:28.
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 7:1
Key Idea: We should cleanse ourselves from sinful deeds.
Questions for Family Growth: In this text what does Paul say we should cleanse ourselves from? In practical terms, how do we go about doing this? What does it mean to "perfect holiness" (NKJV) in the "fear of God"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:29.
Friday: James 4:4
Key Idea: We must choose whether to be a friend of God or a friend of the world.
Questions for Family Growth: What is "enmity"? Why can't we be the friends of God and friends of the world at the same time? How do we really show whether we are God's friend or the world's friend?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:30.