The Believer’s Sphere of Influence

By Gil Rugh

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to be “children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Phil. 2:15). We are to be free from blame, adulteration and blemish, and yet we are not to withdraw from the world. We can be tempted to want to pull back from those around us to preserve our “purity.” However, that is not the way God intended us to live.

We may have moments when we would like to “live on an island.” We think about how nice it would be to withdraw from the world and just be around other believers. After all, we are most comfortable around fellow believers and most of our social activities take place with our dear friends in the Lord.

We feel that if we did not have to spend so much time with unbelievers, such as at work, we could really get it together spiritually. We complain about their language, stories and music, and grumble about their twisted thinking and lack of scruples. We wonder how much longer we can bear to co-exist with them.

However, God put us right in the middle of these unbelievers because that is where we belong!

How are we to be blameless, unadulterated and free from blemish in a worldly environment? Only by the work of God in us. By drawing upon His power we will face each situation with His strength. It is God’s intention that His people be a testimony for Him in the world!

This was the focus of Jesus’ high-priestly prayer for His disciples the night before He was crucified. He prayed, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

Christ did not ask that we be removed from the world, but rather that we be preserved in it and kept from the power of Satan. Continuing in His prayer, Christ said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (vv. 16, 17). The key for our purity, preservation and sanctification is the Word of God. “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (v. 18). Notice the pattern: the believer is sanctified and then sent into the world—into the midst of a generation that is crooked and perverse.

We should be honored to serve God wherever He has placed us. He has a purpose for us being there and He has given us everything we need to serve Him—to be a light to those who are perishing.