Navigating our engagement with "the world"

In the message on Sunday about Esther, we learned that just like Esther, we are a part of a larger story that begins in Gen. 3 - a cosmic battle, with enmity between God and Satan. If we don't understand our place in this story, we will be unable to respond properly when temptations come.

Here's a quote that fits with our messages on Esther:

“The world is no friend to grace.  A person who makes a commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior does not find a crowd immediately forming to applaud the decision or old friends spontaneously gathering around to offer congratulations and counsel. Ordinarily there is nothing directly hostile, but an accumulation of puzzled and disapproval and agnostic indifference constitutes, nevertheless, surprisingly formidable opposition.

An old tradition sorts the difficulties we face in the life of faith into the categories of “world, flesh and devil.”  We are for the most part, well warned of the perils of the flesh and the wiles of the devil.  Their temptations have a definable shape and maintain a historical continuity. That doesn’t make them any easier to resist; it does make them easier to recognize.

The world though is protean; (ever-changing, variable, shifting, mutable, inconsistent, vacillating...) each generation has the world to deal with in a new form.  World is an atmosphere, a mood. It is nearly as hard for a sinner to recognize the world’s  temptations as it is for a fish to discover impurities in the water. There is a sense, a feeling, that things aren’t right, that the environment is not whole, but just what it is, eludes analysis. We know that the spiritual atmosphere in which we live erodes faith, dissipates hope and corrupts love, but it is hard to put our finger on what is wrong.”

~ Eugene Peterson.  A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.