We are grateful to Matt Rawlins for reaching out to share his thoughts through this devotional below! Check out his bio to learn more about his work.
— by Matt Rawlins
The first question God asked Adam was, "Where are you?" This question is still relevant for the leader of today.
The first part of this question is in the "world" around you. What is the context you find yourself in? Which domain are you involved in, and what is God’s heart for it? This is to give you an external reference point for the work you are doing.
The second part of this question has to do with your internal world—what's going on inside of you. In my work coaching leaders, I try to help them understand this so they can know where they can be seduced by the world around them and what to watch out for.
As a part of my daily devotions, I write a devotion to put thoughts to what I am struggling with and to help others understand the struggle going on inside of them. Below is the devotion I wrote to help define this struggle each of us are in.
“And do not be conformed to this world…” Romans 12:2
We live in a material world that God created and called good. This has not changed. It is still a good place representing the glory of God. However, we create a relational “world” that grows out of our values, beliefs, and relationships. When we listened to the devil and rebelled, our relational world—demonic in origin and broken in essence—became the corrupt place in which we find ourselves living today.
It is this relationally fallen world that Paul is telling us about a world where selfish values (jealousy, envy, pride, and darkness) thrive. It is the birthing place of evil, and it is sustained and supported by broken and corrupt systems.
The Bible is clear that this cultural, relational “world” has the capacity to hold us in bondage. We can actually be captivated by it and held as prisoners in it. As far-fetched as it may seem to us at times, when we seek status, approval, or power from our colleagues in this system, we give ourselves to it and the trouble begins. These things aren't necessarily evil on their own, but reveal that we are more invested in the world than the kingdom of God.
Slowly, this worldly system wraps itself around our hearts; we buy into it more and more until it defines us. We put our faith in it rather than in God and end up captives to it. By this act of faith, we have submitted to it and given it authority over us.
The world's system tells us that we'll be rejected, lonely, and disappointed unless we play by its rules, but the work of our faith in God is to detangle ourselves from this broken system called the world and not give it any authority to define us.
We have been adopted into the family of God, and it is this family that now defines who we are and how we live. The Triune God is now the One who creates and sustains the relational world we live in, called the Kingdom of God.
Walk it out!
Take 3 minutes to journal out your response to what God spoke to you:
Is there a relationship with your family, friends, or coworkers that is broken? If so, what is God asking you to do about it?
What does it mean to you personally that God took you out of the bondage of the “world’s system” and adopted you into a family?