“IN but not OF” – God wants us as His children to be “IN THE WORLD” – that’s probably obvious since we ARE HERE. This isn’t Heaven, yet – so – HERE we are for the time being.
But – God also wants us as His children to NOT BE OF THE WORLD. That becomes really tricky to know what that means exactly. I am of the opinion that most Christians go to one extreme or the other, but neither are walking in the strength of the Lord.
In an attempt to “Not be OF the world” – they become so separate from the world that there is virtually no contact. Their favorite verse could be, “Come out from among them and be ye separate.” – but – it makes it mighty difficult , if not impossible to “Make disciples” if we have no contact with non-believers.
The other extreme is the opposite – maybe in an attempt to influence “the world” for Christ, there is so much contact and so much “in the world” that there gradually becomes no difference. We are exactly like “the world” and therefore really have nothing to offer.
It’s our DIFFERENCE from the world that is both the offense and the attraction. It is our DIFFERENCE that attracts people to “the Gospel” and Jesus as we manifest the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. It is our DIFFERENCE that is offensive for without Jesus no one can live these qualities.
How DIFFERENT are you? A very difficult way to live, and impossible without the indwelling Holy Spirit and God’s living Word.