But placed in this world! They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17
I sometimes get a bit irritated at Christians who point out that they are not of this world. They see themselves, and rightly so, as aliens just passing through. One problem with that exclusivity is Christians who are absolutely no different from any other person living in this broken world. That makes the claims of Jesus lose some of their power and clarity.
Christ was praying to His Father for protection for His disciples, understanding that they would be without Him physically and spiritually until the arrival of the Holy Spirit. He understood the dangers from both people and the devil, having lived through those dangers in His short time on this earth.
One thing that seems to be missing in the declaration is the fact that Christians are placed in this world, not arbitrarily, by God for a purpose. To focus in just being vacationers here for a brief time before really arriving at our destination brings the danger of isolation and complete abandonment of the great commission, sharing the Truth of Jesus to others who may still be lost.
Obviously, to just associate with those who have already accepted the Lord into their lives as the primary focus, eliminates the opportunities, yes, provided by God, to plant the seed of the Gospel in those who are outside of its wondrous message and potential transformation. Time spent outside of the comforts of those just like us, is eternally valuable and a real possible result of God's purpose for our lives.
This broken creation, that still reflects and glorifies God, is absolutely beautiful and filled with those created in God's own image, humans. Each human being is loved by God and given purpose in God. Their value comes from He who placed the breath of life into them. While He knows who those are who are written in the Book of Life, we do not. This means that every single person we encounter is potentially a brother or sister in Christ, a child of God, adopted into His family for eternity.
Yes, we are not of this world, but we are here to purpose God's will in and through us. We need to focus on what we can do to glorify Him while we are here.
Praise our Holy God!