“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” - 1 John 2:15-16
From what we read in the Bible, we know that we are to be in the world, but not of the world. What does this entail? Well, as followers of Christ, we are to live differently from those that are unsaved.
Having the Holy Spirit in your life will affect what you watch, what you say, where you go, what you listen to, how you dress, etc. Essentially, nearly every aspect of your life will be very different from what it was before you trusted Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” - II Corinthians 5:17
Sadly, however, I’ve found that there’s not as much of a difference as there should be… And it’s not because the unsaved are becoming closer to Christ. It seems that many Christians want to see how close to the edge they can get, rather than keeping their distance from the pleasures of the world. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” II Timothy 2:22
As Christians, the unsaved world is watching what we do and say. If we are not noticeably different from the world around us, it gives cause for Satan to blaspheme. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Matthew 5:13
While we need to be separated from the world, we must be careful not to eliminate our contact with those around us; It’s our responsibility to share the Gospel with the unsaved people that we come into contact with. We must make sure that those around us see a difference, and see Christ through us. “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33
Also, we must be wary of self-conceit. Are we separated because it’s what Christ commands, or just because it’s what is accepted? In many church environments, it’s very easy to follow the rules simply to fit in. I’m not at all saying that the rules are wrong; I’m saying that we need to examine why we are doing what we do, and to make sure that it’s for God’s glory, and not our own. It’s all too easy to become focused on other peoples’ faults, and our own “spiritual goodness”… Thus taking our complete focus off of the Lord.
Do what’s right, just make sure to do it for the right reason: because it’s what God desires.