There is no question that we live in a fallen world. There, hopefully, is also no question that those of us who have Jesus as our Savior also have faith that lives within us. And here is where the problem begins...
There is this precious gift of faith that lives within us, and we live within a fallen, sinful, often anti-faith culture. How then are we supposed to deal with this dichotomy? We can not escape the culture or world that we live in, and yet we also should not be able to ignore the flame of faith that exists within us. May I suggest that there are two ways in which people deal with this problem:
Let's take a look at the two, because they are VERY different...
Sadly, most Christians that I know take an "isolation" approach to their faith. Once they receive Christ and start getting plugged into a church, bible study, etc they begin to back away from their old life as they are striving to reach their new. Not a bad idea, especially when that old life may very well have some strong ties or enticements back to a sinful lifestyle... BUT... they never get out of the safe protected bubble that they put themselves in. They have isolated themselves, their faith, and honestly the power of their testimony.
To borrow an example from modern culture, in the movie Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the king of Rohan is faced with an evil army that's about to be at his door. He decides, rather than ride out and meet them, (and don't forget they were known for their cavalry and horsemanship) to secure the castle gates and walls and keep his people safe. This was a great idea, until the enemy got there and started to pound away at the walls of castle until it became vulnerable.
In my opinion, this is a modern day parable for what we as Christians have done to ourselves. We have retreated inside of our stained glass castles and not gone out to meet the enemy head on and fight for our people.
The second, all be it less chosen, way to deal with the issue is insulation. The insulation approach is quite simple. I recognize that my soul has been bought and paid for, and I insulate myself from evil and sin without having to isolate myself from it.
How do you do that? Well, first off, this requires you to be much closer to the action. (Something, sadly, most Christians do not want to do.) But, secondly, it's about working smarter, not harder. Don't go into an atmosphere alone, make sure that you are the one doing the influencing, not the other way around. The biggest mistake that Christians make is that they think they are impenetrable because Christ is invincible. Christ may be, but we are still sinful at the core of our flesh... take some other believers with you that will hold you accountable as you hold them. Insulate yourselves from being influenced by the sinful culture and start spreading some light into some darker areas.
To finish the analogy...
When faced with the evil army, the king of Rohan said, "I will not risk war on my people." Aragon, a member of the fellowship that was trying to defeat the evil army simply replied, "War is already upon you."
I would like to say something to anyone who calls on the name of Jesus for their savlation:
"War is already upon you!"
What are you going to do about it? Are going to remain isolated inside the stained glass castle walls, as the enemy outside continues to tear away at them? Or will you insulate yourself with other believers, and "Ride out with me" to meet them...
We are the fellowship that was left to keep the evil army of sin and its works at bay, if we won't do it, who will?
- Just a thought.