Christian Living

Do We Live Close to the World or Keep a Safe Distance?

We Must Pick Up Our Cross and Follow Jesus

Many people profess Jesus but follow the world instead of following him. We shouldn’t live close to the world. We should keep a safe distance.

Though we don’t need to change our behavior to earn God’s favor, we should want to change in response for what he did for us. We’ll be better off when we do.

Live as Close to the World as You Can

Many people who claimed to be a Christian don’t act like it. Someone watching what these folks say and do would see them as no different from people of no faith.

The thought-provoking question is, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

The sad reality for too many is no. The case would be thrown out for lack of evidence.

Or if some convicting evidence could be found, it would be more than offset by a large amount of counter evidence. The preponderance of proof would support acquittal.

These people live close to the world and have no credible witness in it. They are a Christian in name only, but their faith is dead (James 2:18).

Keep as Safe of a Distance as We Are Able

The alternative is to remove ourselves from the world. But this isn’t a call to isolation. Instead, it’s a plea to distance ourselves from worldly influences.

In short, we must keep a safe distance from sin.

If we don’t, we will eventually be pulled into it. This isn’t a salvation issue. It’s a commitment issue.

Yet too many people who carry the Christian label strive to live as close to the world—as close to sin—as possible. They live a life that’s little different from anyone else. They don’t stand out. They blend in.

Others wrongly conclude that since they’re saved by grace, they can live whatever life they want. This includes a life of sin. But they’re wrong (Romans 6:1-2).

A Buffer for Our Benefit

Pursuing righteousness—that is, striving to live right for Jesus—isn’t to remove all the fun from our life. It’s to give us freedom.

As followers of Jesus, we have the freedom to really live, to live for him and not be shackled by the consequences and guilt produced from worldly pleasures.

When we live like the world lives, we run the very real risk of being sucked into it—and away from God.

There’s no buffer to keep us safe. We’ve eliminated it.

There’s no guardrail to keep us from plummeting over the edge.

When we obey God’s commands, we establish a buffer between us and the world’s negative influences. This keeps us safer from evil and the temptation to sin. This starts with how we think, which influences what we do.

Then we can keep a safe distance from the forces that threaten to harm us.

Follow Jesus—and Only Him

But we shouldn’t do this with legalistic fervor or erect judgmental attitudes towards others. This lifestyle of right living should follow as a natural progression that results when we fully follow Jesus, when we become his disciple (Luke 9:23).

The result of following Jesus as his disciple is that we no longer live close to the world. Instead, we keep a safe distance from it and the sin that threatens to pull us away and distract us from our Lord.

We must not look back (Luke 9:62). We must press on (Philippians 3:10-14).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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