[forthright] Just Visiting

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Tue, 05 Oct 2004 14:51:26 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

Just Visiting
by Richard Mansel

Life is often a hurricane of trouble. Pain,
stress, worries, fears bombard us daily. How do we
face them with courage? What can non-Christians
gain from God's plan? How can we all keep from
being consumed by the stresses of this life?

Jesus said of his apostles, "they are not of the
world, just as I am not of the world" (John 17:16,
NKJV). The world is all that is at enmity with
God. He explains, "I have given them Your word;
and the world has hated them because they are not
of this world, just as I am not of this world"
(John 17:14). In John 17:17, Jesus tells them they
will be set apart by the truth of Scripture.

God's will condemns the pursuit of fleshly
pleasure and pride that directs our steps. God is
therefore hated. When Christians take a stand with
him for absolute truth, they will find the same
anger.

Christians have been chosen out of the world.
While Christians live in the world, they despair
over the same problems and challenges everyone
else faces. Jesus said, "Sufficient for the day is
its own trouble" (Matthew 6:34). While God will
not take away these problems, he will provide a
way to overcome them.

We are to become visitors in this world. If I
travel to Seattle, I will settle into my hotel
room and relax. I will enjoy the room and try to
maintain its neatness, but it won't be mine. I
will have no interest in it, other than the
service it provides. In the morning I will pick up
a local paper and read the sports and national
news. I will discard the local news as it has no
bearing on me. It won't matter if a planned road
project and its threat of a tax increase passes or
fails. Since I am not a citizen of Seattle, I will
be unconcerned.

When we understand we are "in, but not of the
world" we develop a completely new perspective.
Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
We are foreigners and strangers in a foreign land.
In a way, we have a different culture and speech
than those in the world. This is illustrated by
the term "church" which means "the called out."

This is God's antidote to the problems of our
lives. We will have a way to let them go.

We will develop "spiritual glasses." When we see a
problem, we will put on our spiritual glasses and
our new perspective will change our entire
mindset. While the problems will still be there,
we will see that they have no effect on our soul
and relationship to God. In other words, they are
not as important as we once thought they were.

When temptations come we can put on our spiritual
glasses and ask, "is this worth my soul?" We will
develop a spiritually mature perspective with an
eye to eternity.

These spiritual glasses will alter our perspective
on people. We see a drunk stumbling out of a bar
and falling over everything. Without our spiritual
vision, we laugh and dismiss him as worthless.
Donning our spiritual glasses, we suddenly see him
as a soul badly in need of salvation and love.

When we are angry at loved ones, we will ask if
this argument is worth our relationship and our
place with God.

Our spiritual lives will change as we look out at
the world with different lenses. When we see the
world as God would have us to, the entire world
will be brighter, more hopeful.

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