The Ballad of John and Mary: How Do I Know When I Am Of This World?

John is deeply disturbed by the words and actions of the Trump administration—and of course Donald Trump himself. So, almost daily, John posts something on social media that slams Donald Trump or those who work for him. Their honesty is questioned. Their lack of morality is exposed. Their frequent malicious tweets called out. In general, they are painted as divisive, dishonest people whose only concern is to get their own selfish way.

Mary is concerned about those who find only fault with the Trump administration. Almost daily she posts articles and opinions calling out the hypocrisy of those who fault Trump for doing the very things Obama did before him. She misses no opportunity to post the words of the extremists on the left who point out all the faults of the current administration while proposing alternatives that are financially impossible, ignoring the effects of their recommendations on the majority of Americans.

John and Mary share very little politically. To read their posts you would assume they would avoid one another and have radically different outlooks on life. But you would only be partially correct. You see John and Mary are part of the same congregation. They regularly see one another as they participate in church activities. Their kids are growing up together in the same youth group.

John and Mary have one more thing in common. Neither is able to effectively share their faith with others. Not because they don’t know how—they have both participated in church programs designed to help them do this.

They aren’t able to share their faith because no one listens to them.

John and Mary have become so embroiled in the affairs of this world that they are seen as “ists”—rightists, leftists, extremists. People are so accustomed to their posts about political matters that if either ever posted something about the gospel or God’s work in the world during this time of uncertainty, no one would listen.

Of course, this isn’t a problem because a review of their social media posts over the last several months reveals the fact that, while both are prolific “posters”, neither talks about the Lord.

What do you suppose that says to a world tired of everything being “us” and “them”?

Christians are in this world for one reason: to represent our King, who is not of this world, to this world. We have the answer the world seeks! This means we are to talk to the world about Jesus. We look for opportunities to encourage people to consider repentance and faith in the King. When we fail to do this, we have made our lives about this world.

John and Mary have both done this. They may not be aware of it. But everyone around them is.

How can you tell if you have fallen into this trap—if you are a “John” or “Mary”? I suggest a self-assessment:

1. Do I talk/post about Jesus and what God is doing in my life?
2. Do I talk/post about Jesus more than I do about things of the world (including politics, family, COVID, etc.)?

If I answered “no” to either question 1 or 2, I am not faithfully representing our King. I have either become part of this world, or I am on my way to doing so.

3. Am I known as “right-wing” or “left-wing”?
4. Do I consistently criticize one “wing” while praising the other?
5. Do I consider my faith to be a private matter between God and me?

If I answered “yes” to question 3, 4, or 5, I am not faithfully representing our King. I have either become part of this world, or I am on my way to doing so.

Healthy Christians share their faith with one another and with those outside the body of Christ.

They are not aligned with a political movement of this world but represent their King—whose Kingdom is not of this world. They understand the dangers presented both by the cares and the pleasures of this world and are careful to not allow them to ever compromise their faithfulness to or representation of the King.

This year, possibly even more than four years ago, the temptation will be extreme to fall into the trap of loyalty to the world at the cost of our faithful representation of the King.


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