Christian living is like walking a tightrope over the frivolous sins and vices of the world on the one side, and the morbid judgements and rules of false religions on the other side. Like a tightrope walker our confidence is sure, and we do not fear, but a fall either way can be disastrous. Although the side of the sins and vices of the world appear worse than the side of the judgments and rules of false religions, both can be called ‘worldliness’, for both conform to the trends, values, and practises of the world without Christ.

That is why in Romans 12:2 God commands: “Do not be conformed to this world”. Such is command is no surprise to those who are constantly renouncing ungodliness and worldly passion (Titus 2:12). What is striking about Romans 12:2 is that the way in which we don’t fall into worldliness is not merely through abstinence of what is wrong, but primarily through remaining on what is right. Romans 12:2 doesn’t continue listing a string of the world’s sins and idolatrous practises, but says instead:

be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

A tightrope walker’s goal is not merely not to fall to the left or to the right. Rather his goal is simply to stay on the rope. With great discernment regarding the pressures of the wind, the subtleties of the rope, and his own imbalances, the tightrope walker can continually adjust his walk to remain on the rope. He need not fear the fall if he simply remains on the rope.

The same is true for you and me. Our walk is not defined primarily by abstinence from the world, but instead is defined by the will of God, that which is morally always good, acceptable to God, and lacking nothing.