I AM NOT OF THIS WORLD…AND I AM
By Chad Bird
The followers of Jesus have always lived paradoxical lives.
We say, on the one hand, that we are not of this world. But on the other hand, Christians are almost singlehandedly responsible for preserving western civilization in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.
We are self-described pilgrims and strangers in this world, but Christians have advanced everything from agriculture to literacy in this same world. Our own Founder said that we will always have the poor with us, but the church throughout the centuries has bent over backwards to care for the impoverished, the homeless, the hungry and the orphaned.
We believe, with one of our apostles, that it is far better to depart this world and be with Christ, yet we have established hospitals, along with universities to train doctors and nurses, all with the ultimate goal being the preservation of life here on earth for as long as possible.
So, what gives? If heaven’s so great, why are Christians delaying their departure? If we’re not of this world, why do we invest so much in it?
Our detractors often accuse us of hypocrisy, saying that we doubt the very message we preach, that we’re unsure of whether we’ll go to heaven or hell, so we delay the inevitable as long as possible.
Yes, admittedly, we wrestle with doubt. All of us fear death to some extent because no Christian believes perfectly. But there are much deeper, more profound reasons for our commitment to this world.
THE LOVE-CHARGED HEART OF GOD
To begin with, we believe that our bodies, the air we breath, the soil under our feet, are all icons of the love-charged heart of God. As opposed to many other religions, ancient and modern, we confess God to be Creator.
We don’t hold this world to be the product of chance or evolution. It’s not the result of random events, an accident, or even a divine afterthought. God made it on purpose. He pronounced it very good. And it still is. Everything that exists he made for us because he loves us.
So for Christians this world is not a roach-infested motel. It’s the gift of a Lover. Yes, it has been battered and bruised by millennia of evil, but it remains a gift especially designed by God the Creator to unveil the magnitude of his love. And it is a gift wherein we show love to one another.