It's not easy being a Christian, a follower of Jesus. The righteousness part isn't so bad because we are covered by Jesus with that. In regard to righteousness, it's not that we are to live a good life, rather a good life happens the more intimate we are with Jesus. So we don't "do" in order to "be"; we "are" in order to "do". No, the hard part about being a Christian is living in this world.
In many ways a Christian living in this world is like an alcoholic living in a liquor store. We are constantly surrounded by things that want to distract us, others that want to over power us, and others that want to possess us. We need to be honest with each other and with God, that this world contains many attractions that lead to sin. Yet Jesus prayed:
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. (John 17:14)
That is what we have to remind ourselves as we look in the mirror. It is what we have to look into each other's eyes and remind each other of. It is what we have to look into the eyes of our children and remind them of. We are not of this world. Go ahead, say it with me, out loud: we are not of this world. We live here, we have been left here, but we have been re-born as a new creation so we no longer fit here. We belong to somewhere and someone else. The world doesn't want to accept that and will bombard us with messages that we are just like everyone else, but we are not.
Some people try to handle this by separating themselves from the world. They build monastery type dwellings or communities, or move to isolated islands in an attempt to separate themselves from the world but this too is against the will of Jesus. He prayed to our Father:
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (John 17:15)
We have been left here with a mission, a purpose to fulfil. We represent the light in the darkness. We hold out the good news to all who will hear it. We allow Jesus to reveal his glory through us that all who believe in him will also become like us, saved from their sin and made as a new creation. The enemy would love to destroy and devour us but we are under the Father's protection. It is only when we move away from that protection, when we are distracted or overwhelmed by the attractions of this world that we open ourselves to be destroyed. Jesus insisted that this world is no longer part of us:
They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. (John 17:16)
Now here is the thing. We are no longer part of this world but we have been set aside in this world with a purpose. We have been set aside and anointed as a holy instrument in the temple of God. We have been sanctified for divine purpose:
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (John 17:17-19)
Sanctified, set apart for divine use, and sent back into the world in the same sense that Jesus had been sanctified and sent into the world. I think we all agree that Jesus may have walked this earth but he certainly didn't belong to it. He was surrounded by things that would have attracted his flesh but Jesus knew who he was, who he belonged to and what he was doing here.
Perhaps that is our problem. We know who we are in Jesus. We know who we belong to but I think we often forget what we are doing; we often forget our mission. We have been left in this dark place for a reason and that reason has divine purpose and that reason is what we should be waking up to every day. It is our relationship with Jesus that gives us this purpose, that sanctifies us in this sin stained world.
It is hard to be a Christian in this world if we forget who we are, who we belong to and our divine purpose for being here. It is why we must not only be doing the will of God but we must be reminding each other of these things. It is hard to fall in the darkness when we are possessed by the Spirit and surrounded by friends who remind us of these things daily. Take time to look in the mirror this morning and remind yourself: "I am a child of God through Jesus", "I belong to Jesus; I am his and he is mine", "He has left me in this world because there are things he wants me to do". Now, go and remind some friends of the same things and get them to remind their friends. This world no longer has a hold on us; we are in it but not of it. Let's get busy with our Father's work today.