History records in a Letter to Diognetus dating back to the second century A.D., an anonymous writer described a strange people who were in the world but not of the world:

They are not differentiated from other people by country, language, or customs; they do not live in cities of their own or speak some strange dialect. They live in both Greek and foreign cities, wherever chance has put them. They follow local customs in clothing, food, and the other aspects of life. But at the same time, they demonstrate to us the unusual form of their own citizenship. They live in their own native lands, but as aliens; every foreign country is to them as their native country, and every native land as a foreign country. They marry and have children just like everyone else, but they do not kill unwanted babies. They offer a shared table, but not a shared bed. They are passing their days on earth, but are citizens of another world. They obey the appointed laws and go beyond the laws in their own lives. They love everyone, but are persecuted by all. They are put to death and gain life. They are poor and yet make many rich. They are dishonored and yet gain glory through dishonor. Their names are blackened and yet they are cleared. They are mocked and bless in return. They are treated outrageously and behave respectfully to others. When they do good to others, they are punished as evildoers, and when they are punished, they rejoice as if being given new life. They are attacked by Jews as aliens and are persecuted by Greeks; yet those who hate them cannot give any reason for their hostility.”

The strange people the anonymous writer described were Christians. They were different in every aspect as to what the world expected. They were salt and light in a world that needed flavor and sight, yet the world hated the taste and preferred the darkness. John described the situation in the prologue of his gospel: In him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood.”

I think the apostle Paul expressed the life of the Christian best in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10: “We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” Or as one person put it in a more modern vernacular, “Squeezed but not squashed, bewildered but not befuddled, pursued but not abandoned, knocked down but not knocked out.

If someone were describing your life, would the above explanation fit? May it be our desire and focus be to live such lives that the world can’t help but take notice and give no other explanation for our attitude and actions except that we have spent time with Jesus Christ.

To His Glory,

Pastor Bill