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 CHAPTER 5

How to Keep Separate From the World

How to Keep Separate From the World

“You are no part of the world.”​—JOHN 15:19.

1. What was Jesus concerned about on the night before his death?

IT WAS the night before Jesus’ death. He knew that he was about to leave his disciples, and he was concerned about their future. He told them: “You are no part of the world.” (John 15:19) Later, he prayed to his Father about them, saying: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:15, 16) What did Jesus mean?

2. What is “the world” that Jesus spoke of?

2 Here, “the world” refers to people who do not know God and are under the rule of Satan. (John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2; James 4:4; 1 John 5:19) How can we be “no part of the world”? In this chapter, we will discuss several ways: We remain loyal to God’s Kingdom and are neutral, that is, we do not take sides in politics. We resist the spirit of the world. We are modest in our dress and grooming, and we are balanced in our view of money. We also put on the suit of armor that God provides for us.​—See Endnote 16.

 BE LOYAL TO GOD’S KINGDOM

3. How did Jesus view politics?

3 When Jesus was on earth, he saw that people had many problems and that their lives were not easy. He really cared about them and wanted to help them. Did he become a political leader? No. He knew that what people really needed was God’s Kingdom, or government. Jesus would be King of that Kingdom, and the Kingdom was the main theme of his preaching. (Daniel 7:13, 14; Luke 4:43; 17:20, 21) Jesus did not get involved in politics, and he always remained neutral. When Jesus was in front of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate, he said: “My Kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) His disciples were also neutral. The book On the Road to Civilization said that the early Christians “would not hold political office.” Today, true Christians feel the same. We loyally support God’s Kingdom and are neutral in the political affairs of the world.​—Matthew 24:14.

Are you able to explain why you loyally support God’s Kingdom?

4. How do true Christians support God’s Kingdom?

4 Ambassadors represent their government in a foreign land, so they do not get involved in the politics of that land. The anointed, who have the hope of ruling with Christ in heaven, are in a similar situation. Paul wrote to anointed Christians: “We are ambassadors substituting for Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) The anointed represent God’s government. They do not get involved in the political and governmental issues of this world. (Philippians  3:20) Instead, the anointed have helped millions of people to learn about God’s government. The “other sheep,” who have the hope of living forever in God’s new world, support the anointed. They too remain neutral. (John 10:16; Matthew 25:31-40) Clearly, no true Christian would get involved in the politics of this world.​—Read Isaiah 2:2-4.

5. What is one reason Christians do not fight in wars?

5 True Christians view all fellow believers as their family and are united no matter what country or background they are from. (1 Corinthians 1:10) If we were to go to war, we would be fighting against our own family, our fellow believers, whom Jesus commanded us to love. (John 13:34, 35; 1 John 3: 10-12) More than that, Jesus told his disciples to love even their enemies.​—Matthew 5:44; 26:52.

6. How do dedicated servants of Jehovah view governments?

6 Even though as Christians we remain neutral, we work hard to be good citizens. For example, we show respect for the government by obeying its laws and paying our taxes. But we always make sure to give “God’s things to God.” (Mark 12:17; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20) “God’s things” include our love for him, our obedience, and our worship. We are willing to give up our life rather than disobey Jehovah.​—Luke 4:8; 10:27; read Acts 5:29; Romans 14:8.

RESIST “THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD”

7, 8. What is “the spirit of the world,” and how does it affect people?

7 To be separate from Satan’s world means that we do not let “the spirit of the world” control us. That spirit is the way of thinking and behaving that comes from Satan, and it controls those who do not serve Jehovah. But Christians resist this attitude. As Paul said, “we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God.”​—1 Corinthians 2:12; Ephesians 2:2, 3; see Endnote 17.

8 The spirit of the world makes people selfish, proud, and rebellious. It makes them think that they do not have to obey God. Satan wants people to do whatever they want without thinking of the consequences. He would like people to believe that “the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes”  are the most important things in life. (1 John 2:16; 1 Timothy 6:9, 10) The Devil is trying especially hard to mislead Jehovah’s servants and to trick us into thinking the way he does.​—John 8:44; Acts 13:10; 1 John 3:8.

9. How could the world’s spirit affect us?

9 Like the air we breathe, the spirit of the world is all around us. If we do not work hard to resist that spirit, it will affect us. (Read Proverbs 4:23.) This can begin in ways that seem innocent, such as allowing ourselves to be influenced by the thinking and attitudes of people who do not worship Jehovah. (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33) Or we could be affected by such things as pornography, apostasy, or highly competitive sports.​—See Endnote 18.

10. How can we resist the spirit of the world?

10 How, then, can we avoid being controlled by the spirit of the world? We need to stay close to Jehovah and let his wisdom guide us. We must pray constantly for his holy spirit and stay busy in our service to him. Jehovah is the most powerful Person in the universe. We are confident that he can help us to resist the spirit of the world.​—1 John 4:4.

DRESS IN A WAY THAT HONORS GOD

11. How has the spirit of the world influenced the way people dress?

11 We also show that we are no part of the world by our dress and grooming. Many people in the  world dress to get attention, to stir up immoral thoughts in others, to show rebellion against society, or to show off how much money they have. Other people don’t care what they look like. They may choose to be messy or dirty. We cannot allow any of these attitudes to influence our choice of dress and grooming.

Do I bring honor to Jehovah by the way I dress?

12, 13. What principles should help us decide what we will wear?

12 As servants of Jehovah, we always want to dress in a way that is neat, clean, in good taste,  and appropriate for the occasion. We dress with “modesty and soundness of mind,” so as to show our “devotion to God.”​—1 Timothy 2:9, 10; Jude 21.

13 The way we dress can affect how others view Jehovah and his people. We want to do “all things for God’s glory.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Modesty involves respect for the feelings and opinions of others. So when we choose our clothes or decide how we want to look, we remember that our choices affect other people.​—1 Corinthians 4:9; 2 Corinthians 6:3, 4; 7:1.

14. What should we think about when choosing our clothes for Christian activities?

14 How do we dress when we are at our meetings or in the field ministry? Do we draw too much attention to ourselves? Do our clothes embarrass others? Do we feel that how we dress is no one’s business but our own? (Philippians 4:5; 1 Peter 5:6) Of course, we naturally want to look good, but the things that will truly make us attractive are our Christian qualities. These are the qualities that Jehovah sees when he looks at us. They show who we are inside, “the secret person of the heart . . . , which is of great value in the eyes of God.”​—1 Peter 3:3, 4.

15. Why doesn’t Jehovah tell us exactly how we should dress and how we should look?

15 Jehovah has not given us a list of rules as to what we should or should not wear. Instead, he has provided us with Bible principles, which can help us to make good choices. (Hebrews 5:14) He wants us  to base our decisions, whether big or small, on our love for him and others. (Read Mark 12:30, 31.) All over the world, Jehovah’s people dress in different ways depending on their culture and on what they personally like. This variety is beautiful and refreshing.

A BALANCED VIEW OF MONEY

16. How does the world’s view of money go against what Jesus taught? What questions should we ask ourselves?

16 Satan wants people to think that money and material things are what will make them happy,  but Jehovah’s servants know that this is not true. We trust Jesus’ words: “Even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Money cannot make us truly happy. It cannot give us true friends, real peace of mind, or everlasting life. Of course, we need some material things, and we want to enjoy our life. But Jesus taught us that we will be happy if we have a good relationship with God and if our worship is the most important thing in our life. (Matthew 5:3; 6:22, footnote) Ask yourself: ‘Has the world’s view of money affected me? Is money the main thing I think or talk about?’​—Luke 6:45; 21:34-36; 2 John 6.

17. How can your life improve if you reject the world’s view of money?

17 If we focus on serving Jehovah and reject the world’s view of money, our life will be meaningful. (Matthew 11:29, 30) We will be content and have peace in our mind and heart. (Matthew 6:31, 32; Romans 15:13) We will be less anxious about material things. (Read 1 Timothy 6:9, 10.) We will enjoy the happiness of giving. (Acts 20:35) And our way of life will give us more time with those we love. We may even sleep better.​—Ecclesiastes 5:12.

“THE COMPLETE SUIT OF ARMOR”

18. What is Satan trying to do to us?

18 Satan is trying to destroy our relationship with Jehovah, so we must do everything we can to protect it. We have a fight “against the wicked spirit  forces.” (Ephesians 6:12) Satan and his demons do not want us to be happy or to live forever. (1 Peter 5:8) These powerful enemies are fighting against us, but with Jehovah’s help we can win the fight!

19. How does Ephesians 6:14-18 describe a Christian’s “suit of armor”?

19 In ancient times, soldiers wore armor to protect themselves on the battlefield. In a similar way, we must wear the “suit of armor” that Jehovah has given us. (Ephesians 6:13) It will protect us. We read about this armor at Ephesians 6:14-18: “Stand firm, therefore, with the belt of truth fastened around your waist, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, and having your feet shod in readiness to declare the good news of peace. Besides all of this, take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the wicked one’s burning arrows. Also, accept the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word, while with every form of prayer and supplication you carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit.”

20. What must we do in order for the “suit of armor” to help us?

20 If a soldier forgets a piece of his armor and leaves a part of his body unprotected, that is where his enemy will attack him. If we want our “armor” to protect us, we cannot forget a single piece. We need to wear it all the time and keep it in good condition. Our fight will continue until Satan’s world is destroyed and Satan and his demons are removed from the earth. (Revelation 12:17; 20:1-3) So if we  are fighting wrong desires or struggling with some weakness, we should not give up!​—1 Corinthians 9:27.

21. How can we win our fight?

21 On our own, we are not stronger than the Devil. But with Jehovah’s help, we are! To remain faithful, we need to pray to Jehovah, study his Word, and associate with our brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) These things will help us to remain loyal to God and to be ready to defend our faith.

BE READY TO DEFEND YOUR FAITH

22, 23. (a) How can we always be ready to defend our faith? (b) What will we discuss in the next chapter?

22 We need to be ready to defend our faith at all times. (John 15:19) On certain issues, Jehovah’s Witnesses take a very different stand from that of most people. Ask yourself: ‘Do I really understand why we take this stand? Am I convinced that what the Bible and the faithful and discreet slave say is right? Am I proud to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? (Psalm 34:2; Matthew 10:32, 33) Can I explain my beliefs to others?’​—Matthew 24:45; John 17:17; read 1 Peter 3:15.

23 In many situations, it is very clear what we must do to remain separate from the world. But at other times, it is not so obvious. Satan tries to trap us in various ways. One trap he uses is entertainment. How can we choose our entertainment wisely? We will see in the next chapter.