Live outside this world seems an odd statement until you consider what Jes said. He told His followers they were not of the world, even as He was not of the world, John 17:16. So how do we live in, but outside this world?
Who Is God?
We can never comprehend who God is, only what He is like. First, we need to establish that the terms time, space, past, future and change cannot apply to God, for He transcends all things. They do not affect God, for the Holy God is not only eternal He sits in eternity now. God lives and eternally loves alone, a concept that is foreign to human nature, for God is total in Himself. He is self-existent and self-contained.
God just is, the Great I Am That I Am, Exodus 3:14, has no beginning and no end, with no past and no future. It is difficult for the mortal mind to get hold of the concept of immortality, where the past and the future are now. God’s ways are unfathomable, Romans 11:33. On the other hand, we are driven by time, now, was, will-be, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Lived Out Tomorrows
A.W. Tozer made an interesting statement in his book, The Attributes of God. ‘God has already lived our tomorrows’. When Jesus died on Calvary, God had already been to Calvary, for Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8. At Calvary God’s wrath was poured out on God. While on the Cross Jesus was already seated in heavenly places, for eternity is everything ‘now’.
God has all knowledge for He is knowledge. There is nothing in our life that surprises God, for He knows the end from the beginning, Isaiah 48:10. He knew us before we were conceived in our mother’s womb, Jeremiah 1:5.
The Face of God
The moon orbits the earth in such a way it shows only one face to the earth. God is far above and beyond the universe, for He not only created the universe, He also fills it. We can never comprehend he fullness of God, yet, He has chosen to show us His face through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are all total God. God chose to enter time and came to earth in His Son, who was totally man, yet He was totally God. The man Jesus developed from an embryo in Mary’s womb, to a man who died on a Cross. Yet, the God part of Jesus was eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, where time had no input.
Is it any wonder the sceptics have a field day with all this. It is far above and beyond anything man can conceive. We can only accept it by faith, which is not of ourselves but a gift from God, Ephesians 2:8.
Prince of the Power of the Air
This world is governed by the fallen archangel, Lucifer, or more commonly known as Satan. Lucifer was the most glorious angel in heaven until pride was found in his heart, Ezekiel 28:12ff, and Isaiah 14:12ff. God cast Lucifer out of heaven, Ezekiel 28:17, Isaiah 14:12 and he became the prince of the power of the air, Ephesians 2:2.
The truth is that Satan’s rebellion serves God’s purpose and reveals God’s eternal grace and mercy. We understand a little of this, but as fallen humans we cannot even begin to plumb the depths of who the Almighty God is and what took place at Calvary. What Satan designed for his victory became his defeat.
Faith Needs Testing
Only tried faith is of value, as was proven in the Garden of Eden. Perfect Adam walked with God until the day his faith was tested. He failed that test to the downfall of all humanity. Yet, Adam’s actions did not take God by surprise. God knew what Adam would do before Adam was created. The moment Adam sinned, God revealed the way of salvation through the promised Messiah, Genesis 3:15. Such was His grace and mercy He didn’t just wipe Adam out and start over.
At the end of the millennial reign of Christ, the bound Satan will be loosed again for a little while. Natural people who were born during the millennium will be tried and tested, resulting in the battle of Gog and Magog. However, we need to remember that Satan cannot operate outside the will of God, Job 1:12.
Live Outside This World
So, let’s return to how we are to live in, but outside this world. Think of yourself flying high above the earth in a titanium, steel and aluminum elongated tube. How much faith do you put in that? Without realizing it you use faith every day. You have faith the chair you are about to sit on will hold you, the food you eat won’t poison you, the car you drive is safe. The list is endless.
Back to the aeroplane. You look down at the earth far below and are totally alienated from it. You give no thought to the tiny ants running around down there. People who are rushing to work, facing endless traumas, and generally chasing time. You sit in your manmade bubble, totally isolated from it all. Your whole world is inside that elongated tube. You are in the world but not of the world. For the time you spend flying through the atmosphere you live outside the world.
How do the astronauts cope isolated in a space station, floating way out in space? Earth becomes a ‘foreign’ environment as they cope with the day-to-day experience of living in space. What do they experience once they return to earth where life has continued without them?
Spend time reading the prayer Jesus prayed in John 17, to discover how we are not to allow ourselves to be ruled by this world, where Satan is the domineering force. All around us is chaos and evil men doing their utmost to bring the believer in Christ down. This of course, is Satan’s major aim. He knows what his end will be but is determined to thwart God’s will at every turn.
As followers of Christ we need to change our thoughts to God’s thoughts as revealed in the Word of God, instead of living to the dictates of this world. In other words, take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5, for you are the pearl of great value, Matthew 13:45,46.
Your life is hidden with Christ in God, with all the wonders of being joint heir with Him, Colossians 3:3. We need to unpack that statement a little. Hidden means believers have a common spiritual life with the Father and the Son, 1Corinthians 6:17. Not only are believers eternally secure and protected from all spiritual enemies, Romans 8:31, we have access to all God’s blessings. It is no wonder that the world cannot understand the impact of what this means for followers of Christ. We can live in this world but live outside this world.
How To Live Outside This World
We are to straighten up and lift up our heads because our redemption is drawing near, Luke 21:28. As we look up, we are also to look down as if flying in an aeroplane. Beneath you are banks of thick, dark clouds pouring rain on the earth, yet you sit in brilliant sunshine. Paul said we are already seated in heavenly places, Ephesians 2:2. God’s mercies and blessings are new every morning, Lamentations 3:22,23. Develop a thirst to drink daily from the Fountain of Life, Jesus Christ, Luke 7:37,38 and learn to live outside this world.
Wendy Stenberg-Tendys is a freelance writer who enjoys researching a topic and sharing words of encouragement, particularly from the Word of God.