In, But Not Of! What is Worldliness?

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As a Christian young lady, I was often reminded that I was to be in the world but not of the world. This concept was difficult to grasp since I enjoyed so many things that the world had to offer. As a child, there was nothing as enjoyable as getting up on a bright summer morning, playing jump rope till noon, eating bologna sandwiches for lunch, and going back out to join my friends for snowballs and laughter until dinner. Worldly?

I don’t think I became aware of the dreaded ‘world’ until my teens. I knew that I couldn’t be hugged up in the corner with boys at blue-light parties. I couldn’t sip out of the bottle they were passing. I couldn’t keep the ten dollar bill that I’d seen the old man drop even if my friends did think I was a fool to give it back. My mother hadn’t raised me like that and Sunday School had taught me that those things were wrong.

I’ve watched my own daughters and in my opinion, they exhibit a decent understanding of the ‘in, but not of’ concept. I imparted it to them fairly well, even if I still struggle with it myself. Why? I love to laugh and play pranks. I love the hit show “Scandal” on ABC even though the lead character is in an adulterous relationship with the President of the United States.

I have been known to shake my ‘groove thang’ on the dance floor and I can go to ‘Boston’ in a game of Bid Whist with the best of them. I’ll bet these things are worldly! But, what is worldliness? I still love God and obey His commandments? Are you getting my point?

Right now I’m reading “In, But Not Of” by Hugh Hewitt for his revelations on this important subject. Though the critics purport the book to be geared toward a younger reader and someone who is just graduating college, I have found that knowledge, not yet attained, is beneficial no matter where it’s found.

My argument is who can control the innate movements of their body when Jill Scott sings? Who can resist a Luther Vandross song? And if a bid whist game starts up, what skilled card player can resist the magnetic pull of the card table. A dilemma for sure!

On the other hand, while I cheer Olivia Pope in all her fabulousness, I am not going out and having an affair. I don’t even condone affairs. I just believe in the power of love and believe that some people are in relationships with or even married to the wrong person.

I am in the world. I am aware of right and wrong. I set goals and strive to achieve them in ways that honor myself, my family and friends, and my God. While I enjoy things, I don’t lust after marble bathtubs and solid gold bathroom fixtures. I wouldn’t kill or steal to have money or luxuries. I am grateful for everything I have gained over years of working in the world. I am ever mindful to thank God fervently even as I dance around my home while cleaning.

Now, let me just punch up my mixed playlist of gospel and pop favorites. I believe I’ll walk about the world admiring every good and perfect gift God has given me today! Really—I believe I should stop struggling with this.

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