When you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and enter into a relationship with Him, you are immediately born again into a new life. A life of repentance, where you turn from the path you were walking (the path of destruction and darkness) and walk in the newness of life (the narrow way to eternal life). This transformation involves a “separation“; a separation from the sinful world that is around you. So, what does this separation look like, especially when you live amongst the world’s sin and, in fact, also in this body of sin?
Separation from the world
Firstly, you need to realise that God has called you out of this world to a life of holiness and purity amidst a sinful world. By this, you are to declare all the goodness and praises of Him who rescued you and delivered you. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Believers are to be committed to a godly standard of behaviour. We are called to live out our new birth and salvation just as much as we preach it and declare it by our words. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus taught us to let our light shine before others so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven. We also see instruction in 2 Corinthians 6:15-17, saying, “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”
So, we are to be free from this world’s influence, putting sinful natures to death, and training ourselves for godliness (Galatians 5:16-24; 1 Timothy 4:7). It is not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). Notice it does not mean we totally separate ourselves from society. In fact, believers must be in and involved in the world. That is why Jesus prayed in John 17:15-17, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
Also, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 that we should not associate ourselves with the sexually immoral people in the church. He did not mean to separate yourself from such people in the world since you would need to go out of the world, but instead not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother. You are to purge that evil person from among you. We must be involved in this world to declare the gospel message and be a witness of His glory. Physically we must be in this world to fulfil the call and duty of God, but spiritually we are to be separate.
Likewise, the body of believers, the Assembly of God, known as the “church”, is also to be spiritually separate from the world and disassociate with those who bring false teachings into the church. It could be people, ideologies, theologies, or anything else. We should not tolerate false doctrine or make ourselves culturally relevant whilst compromising on His word (Revelation 2:14-17). The individual and the corporate gathering of believers are to be separate from the world, from false teachings, from the sin of the world, from cultural relevance, and instead be a royal priesthood, a chosen race, a holy nation, proclaiming the excellencies of Christ. Amen!
Separation unto prayer and relationship
It is essential for a believer to also separate themselves to prayer. We often see the example of Christ as he walked this earth. He often went by himself to lonely places to spend time in prayer. Luke 5:16 says, “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” Jesus knew that he would need to continually seek strength from his father in heaven to continue his ministry on earth. There was a total dependence upon God the Father to help Him.
In the previous verse in Luke 5:15, we read the report of Christ was spread abroad, and many crowds were coming to him so that they would be healed of their infirmities. You see, there was a great ministry to do here, and it was increasing, but at the same time, Jesus knew that without prayer, He would not be able to do it. Amid such an increase of ministry, Jesus would often remove himself, separate himself, to desolate places so that he would be strengthened by the Father to do his will. Sometimes we are overrun with the work at hand, often coming at the expense of a “separate” alone time with Jehovah. Every work without prayer and the assistance of the Holy Spirit will be in vain. You must continuously grow in your relationship and depend on prayer for strength to do His work.
Likewise, friends, if Jesus had to rely on the Father, imagine how much more we need to rely on Jesus to help us in our daily Christian walk. Especially if we think we are doing a great job being a Christian or being fruitful and bringing many to his kingdom, that is when you must separate yourself and pray and seek God’s help. Just as it was with Jesus Christ, it is the same for Christians. Private prayer is the foundation of our fruitful living for Christ.
In conclusion, ensure you are separate from the world spiritually, not at all that you do not associate with the people in the world, but instead in your character, lifestyle, and as a new creation in Christ. Be in the world that you may witness the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and shine His light that many would hear and repent. Amen!