“Not of the World,” New Era, September 2015, 14–16
Have you ever wondered where the expression “in the world but not of the world” came from? It’s more than just a motto or a clever use of prepositions—it actually came from Jesus Christ.
Picture the night before His Crucifixion. He met with His Apostles, washed their feet, taught them, and administered the sacrament. At one point during the night, He prayed out loud to His Father for the Apostles:
“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. …
“As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world” (John 17:15–16, 18).
The Savior Himself lived His whole life being in the world but not of the world. He was tempted, but He did not give in to temptation. He avoided evil. He associated with disciples and believers as well as with sinners and hypocrites. He was an example to all.
But He didn’t just leave His disciples with an abrupt, “If I did it, you can do it.” Instead, He was compassionate. He prayed for the Father to help them. But He didn’t pray for the challenge to be taken from them. During His life on earth and through His modern prophets and apostles, the Savior has taught that it is important for us to be influences for good in the world.
Youth from all around the world are consistently faced with challenges as they roam the halls of school, socialize with friends, and participate in extracurricular activities. But with the Savior on their side and the gospel in their hearts, they have found ways to keep themselves from being of the world. Read how some of them are choosing to follow the Savior’s example.
When I face temptation, I ask myself, “What would Jesus do?” or “Will this get me closer to the celestial kingdom?” I go to seminary every morning even though I’m really tired, because that helps me grow spiritually. Reading my scriptures, with the purpose of learning something new or something that can help me become a better person, is a source of guidance that helps me. As we keep the Sabbath day holy and go to our activities, we can better conquer Satan. When we are anxiously engaged with the Lord, He can help us with all the complicated situations we go through.
Brenda H., 17, Minnesota, USA
I keep my standards by participating in activities with my friends from church. Of course I invite nonmember friends to the activities so they can see and understand why I want to keep these standards. My parents and my big brother are good examples to me. I have a lot of good friends who do not belong to the Church who are also great examples to me. They have a lot of great attributes that I would like to develop myself.
Celina W., 15, Germany
In Denmark it is considered different if you go to church, do not drink, and have high standards. But I have experienced that if you are not too shy to talk about the values you stand for, you quickly gain a lot of respect from your peers. I have seen that people think it’s cool when others take care of themselves that way.
Emma K., 18, Denmark
A few years ago my rugby team participated in a weeklong tournament. This meant seven days away from home, parents, and Church leaders. Because we attend a Church school, everyone on my team was a member of the Church. Almost every evening that week, the other teams in our hotel would party in their rooms with loud music, dancing, drinking, smoking, and screaming harsh words at each other. Our team gathered in a room for our tradition of scripture study and evening devotionals. It felt good to do the right thing without being instructed by our parents. After the other teams observed us with surprise, we gained their respect. They were silent when they knew we were having evening devotionals. They seemed to be interested in what we were doing, and some even joined with us to read the scriptures and pray together.
We didn’t win the tournament that week, but we won in another way. We were able to shine our light, and through our examples, change hearts and minds.
Elisara E., 20, Samoa