I have a confession to make: I'm at a place in life where I have more questions than answers about what it means to live the "set apart" life. Let me just share with you a handful of Scriptures regarding living out our faiths in the world.
We are "the light of the world." Matthew 5:14
We are to "go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." Mark 16:15
We as disciples of Christ are to "be brought to complete unity to let the world know" that Jesus loves them. John 17:23
We're not to "conform any longer to the pattern of this world," but to test and approve what God's perfect will is. Romans 12:2
The Bible teaches us to "say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age." Titus 2:11
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
"Friendship with the world is hatred toward God." James 4:4
"Do not love the world or anything in the world." 1 John 2:15
The verses go on and on, and it is very clear to me that God wants me in this world, sharing my story and letting His light shine in and through me. At the same time, He wants me to live a holy, blameless life, set apart for Him. For me, the rub comes while I'm trying to live these Truths out practically. Just when I think I've got a grasp on the balance in the two, something comes along to drive me back to my knees asking.
Living out the "set apart" life starts with confessing I have no idea how to do so. I need the Lord's wisdom, discernment and leading. As I pause and ponder, I also pray and praise, knowing that I'll only have what I need if I ask the Lord to provide it for me.
As I've shared from my gut with the Lord this week, here are some of the questions I've thrown out at him:
How can I be holy & blameless without clinging to legalism?
How can I be a light in this world without some of the darkness absorbing me?
Can I be out among those lost without becoming consumed by self-righteousness and judgment?
When something unfamiliar & scary comes along, will I trust You to help me face it, or will I try to protect myself?
Am I too wealthy, God? Do I need to give up more of my possessions?
How do I reach out to the hurting without their hurts consuming my heart and mind?
Is it okay to relax and have pleasure, or should I use every waking moment to reach others?
What in the world do I do with all this technology, God? What is the balance?
I'm back to the beginning in saying that I have more questions than answers, but I know as I continue to seek the Lord, He will teach me His heart. I'm skeptical of anyone who says they've got it all figured out, because I truly believe that the more we grow in our faith walks, the more questions we have, and the deeper they are.
I also believe this is where grace comes in. So many times, we use grace as our "get out of sin free" card, and it is true that when we repent, His forgiveness is readily available to us. But the deeper part of grace is that when we want to live righteously and falter out of ignorance or immaturity, His grace is there to meet us when we hit our knees asking the whys and hows. I love the way the Message puts it for us in Romans 8:26-28:
"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting,God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along.If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter.He does our praying in and for us,making prayer out of our wordless sighs,or aching groans.He knows us far better than we know ourselves,knows our pregnant condition,and keeps us present before God.That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our livesof love for God is worked into something good."