Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In the World, Not of It

That's when I realized, I'm still in the world.

Of course, I'm not going to have the perfect mentor or students, parents or friends.  This world is so full of evil and the day has not yet come in which Jesus makes all things right.  The frustrations that I have had are not specific to Niger.  No matter where I am, the world is still fallen and people will still fail me and I will still mess up immensely.  Why do I forget that so often?

I may be in the world, but I do not need to be of it.

Complaint seems to be justified by the heat and the traffic.  Apathy is excused because sometimes it's just "one of those days" and "everyone has those days."  Avoidance and relationships lacking intention are so common because "I just need time for me."  We are so good at pointing our fingers at the nearest thing to an excuse.

I refuse to partake in it.

Of late, I rarely find myself joyful or encouraging.  If I were my neighbor, I wouldn't even want to be around me!  I'm not lacking joy because there is a shortage, but because I'm looking in the wrong places.  The world does not, it CANNOT offer me joy.  The world is fallen and though God uses it for His good, it will never satisfy.  True and lasting joy can only come from Jesus Christ Himself.  I've been looking in the wrong places.  Though I didn't realize it at first, I was expecting friends here to fulfill and guide me in a way that only Christ can do.  I held myself to such a high and impossible standard, leaving no room for grace.  And sometimes I am so focused on getting a day's tasks done that I forget that my primary purpose is to be with a God who delights in his people.

Think about it.  God actually takes DELIGHT in being with you!  And yet I feel myself grumble every time I reach for my Bible because I didn't get everything I needed to get done today and no one asked me how I was doing and I'm too tired to read anyways.  Wow!  It's a wonder God still desires me!  My heart is so far from Him and yet He pursues me over and again.

I falter and yes, I have "those days."  But may my sole focus and primary goal always be the glory of God.  Do my complaints glorify God?  Ha.  Does my selfishness, denial, or judgement?  Not at all.  God receives glory when we take delight in Him.  And delight is much easier to be had when I am not so concerned with my own agenda.

I am ready to not only pause my desires for my sinful, natural self, but to completely crucify them.  I am so tired of feeling guilty for losing the little battles that take place between my flesh and spirit daily.  It is a matter of the will to surrender completely to God.  The battle is won when we finally realize that we have a choice to make.  And may I always choose joy over cynicism, peace over angst, intentionality over apathy, sacrifice over selfishness.  These are daily decisions of the will.

Praise God, He has given us the power to choose, not because we are strong enough to overcome ourselves, but because Jesus already lived perfectly for us.  And when God looks at me, He doesn't see the filthy mess that I really am.  He sees Jesus Christ in me, white as snow.  I don't understand it, but when we live in Jesus Christ, we live in freedom.

So yes, I live in this world.  But I certainly don't want to be of it.  My God is greater and the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives and breathes inside of me.  It's time I start living in that reality.  Praise God, I am new!


  1. Oh Hannah Knox how I miss our conversations about Jesus and life! Thank you for always being real and keeping things real! Praying that God would continue to use you for His Kingdom in Niger :) Love ya!

    1. Ely! I miss you! Thanks for your prayers :) Let's catch up some time! Love you!