“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, …
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 2:20 – 3:4, emphasis mine)
Colossians 2:20 asks “why, as if you were still alive in the world…” Assuming that you know “you are no longer alive to this world.” And Paul, addressing the contradiction which the Galatian church was dealing with, being that they were wanting to go back to the law, writes, “but far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Gal. 6:14-15, emphasis mine). Paul is equating his death to the world with his “new creation” in Christ. Saying that through his association with Christ’s death he has died to this life and now lives to God in a state of “spiritual” resurrection. This world had no hold on Paul. It had no “influence” on Paul’s decision making. Paul understood very clearly who he was and Who’s he was. He now lived according to his true, or authentic, identity!
Do you recall the pattern which Israel fell into repeatedly when God would bless them in the Promised Land? This pattern of separating themselves to serve the “One true God” and then soon they would become complacent and comfortable through God’s blessing, and they would “become bored” and eventually “mingle with” the godless, idolatrous nations around them, eventually imitating these nations. Then Israel would have to be humbled and disciplined into repentance until they returned to the LORD. Time and again this happened.
There are all kinds of warnings from God through Moses and the Prophets regarding this temptation to “act like the World” instead of acting like set-apart children of God! Why? Because we have a real battle here between the flesh and the Spirit. And unless we “guard” our hearts. Guarding what we watch, read, listen to, meditate on, and where and how we spend our time, we will end up falling for the lies of the Enemy. We will lose discernment between God’s voice and the Enemy’s voice. We will be confused and conflicted as to what is God’s will and what is the Worlds will. We will become “desensitized” to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
So, what is “necessary” for us now?
To consider ourselves dead to this world! And to live according to our authentic identity as beloved children of God, holy, set-apart, for Him. And our influence in this world will be “Salt and Light.” Otherwise, we will look no different from the world. We will have no hope or life to offer this world. For the World is searching for…HOPE, and hope is only found through encountering a death and resurrection.
Though Jesus walked this earth, He considered Himself set-apart to His Father, and He lived it daily. This is our Lord’s call to us, His children. To come out from the world, to be separate from their way of thinking, living, and believing. What they worship we must not worship! What they “focus” on we must not focus on. When we renew our minds and hearts through prayer and the Word of God. Through fellowship with other believers. When we watch, listen to, and read things which encourage our walk with God we will be…empowered to overcome this world, and we will “walk with God by faith.”
Finally, consider this admonition from the Holy Spirit to us:
The Holy Spirit to every Believer is saying, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:14-18, emphasis).
The Lord is calling a separation between the “Holy and the common.” Allow the Spirit to speak to you, ask for help to obey, and you will find blessing.