A favorite saying of some, used ( or misused ) by most to say that though we must live on this earth, we must not live as many others on this earth do. From a Futurist ( Christian ) point of view, of course, they understand the concept expressed above, 'in the world but not of the world' ( based on passages like Jesus' prayer in John 17, the apostle Paul's letter to the Romans ( 12:2 ) & the apostle John's words in I John 2:15-17 ) as referring to their perception of Jesus' world. According to this view ( not entirely wrong ), rather than simply referring to the Jewish economy of Jesus' Day, 'the world' that He & the apostles warned against extends far into the future, going on 2,000 years now: again, this is not altogether wrong!
One might as well say that while we live in a conventional world, we do not have to live according to those conventions! I'm not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater ( IE, resisting convention for convention's sake-some conventions are not all bad ), just that some conventions need not be observed. Another way of putting it is that while we must live in the Person, we must not live from the Person: in essence, because we, at present, are in this biology, we really have no choice but to live as the person ( ? ), but, even there, we don't have to live according to the selfish wants & needs of this biology.
This may be an unfamiliar concept to some, but the notion that we are spirits ( energy? ) having a physical ( biological ) experience is by no means a modern one! In this world-view, there are basically two ways to live; one can live according to the conventions of this world, from the Person, so to speak, or one can live from the ( higher ) Self, letting things be what they are, focusing on the fact that we are all of the same Essence. The former way of life, especially in this world, is much easier in the short run on the Person, but the latter is much healthier, according to a growing number of people!
The heart of the issue, as some have realized & more are recognizing, is that much of this world's problems, if not all of them, stem from living from the Person. Wars are begun because one Person, or group of People, believe that they have the right to subjugate another Person or group of People. Babies are murdered by the dumpster-full every day because one Person decides that another just won't fit into their selfish plans. On the other hand, living from the Self would bring peace, in the long run, maybe not the short, because when one realizes that there truly is no Other, but that we are Essentially the Same & then accepts things as they are, without processing how they think things should be, then wars would cease; murder would become less & less of an option: despite personal differences, people would accept each other & Love would rule the day!
As Utopian as that statement sounds, it CAN happen; those who have chosen to manifest the Self rather than the Person ( Jesus, for example ) may not live long in this world, but they have definitely left their mark on it! When one chooses to live non-conventionally in a conventional world, one often ( usually ) faces tribulation, sometimes death; Gandhi, for instance, was deprived of his personal existence for this reason. Many others have been persecuted, even to death, for not following the conventions of the day; the story of Martin Luther King & the whole civil rights movement of the 50s & 60s has opened many a blind eye!
It has been proven that those, including the Jesus of the Bible, who have chosen to live from the Self, not from the Person, have made history, for the better! It truly cannot be argued that, even with the advance of the Gospel, such as it is, the world, especially Western Civilization, has declined to whatever decree because of the tendency to live from the Person. Reports are coming in, however, for those with ears to hear, from all over the world, that it is becoming a growing trend to live from the Self & though this usually means persecution, more & more people are finding it a healthier option, a better way of life!
Wars, whether on a national or local ( personal ) level are unavoidable; abortion is a sad fact, at least to those living from the Person: 'I' will not stand here silent, while that Other Person tramples all over 'MY' rights!' Isn't that just the opposite of what Jesus did? In fact, Jesus castigated His own disciples for trying to defend His physical Person! Jesus even prayed for those who persecuted & eventually sentenced Him to death because He was focused on the Self, the good of all men & women, not on His own Person!
Some conventions are useful: Time, for instance; when someone tells us they will be there in a certain amount of Time, if we have a timepiece of our own, we can know that given a certain amount of trust, they will be there when we expect. Others, not so much; though the marriage license ( as with any license ) can be useful, especially when it comes to living IN the Person ( if you would avoid persecution ), it is by no means necessary ( except for matters of legality ) to the union itself. In fact, the convention of a man & woman standing before a minister or J.P. is questionable as to its necessity!
It's probably clearer to some atheists than to some Christians that the 'world' to which Jesus & the apostles referred was the Jewish economy, which was about to pass away ( John 12:31, John 16:8 & 11, I Corinthians 7:31, Hebrews 9:26 ), but it should be noted that the statement made in the beginning of this blogpost stands as a universal truth. Just as we are spirits having a physical experience, so the earth itself, or the 'world', if you will, is a biological body. We, in the Self, are not of this earth, or this 'world'. In the Person, however we are of this world & as such we tend overmuch to focus on what we, in the Person, perceive as Reality; the Self, however, sees things as they are, not as the Person thinks or believes they are, or should be.
So, the 'world' of Jesus' Day passed away, just like ( when-thank God for Time ) He said it would, but we still, personally speaking, live in the world. Living as 'of the world' ( kinda like, 'I'm an American!' ) just causes trouble & not in a good way! Wars have been started for less! 'It's MY right; how dare you try to take it!': instead, we should be sharing this 'world' as a Gift from God ( the Source, Creator, etc. ). There ARE some things that we should NOT share, but that's a different subject for a different day ( or maybe I'll just leave it to my readers! ).
As a wise women once, said, 'Our lives are not our own; cradle to grave, we are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.'
Charles Haddon Shank