1. Scripture uses a number of word pictures to describe the believer’s role in the world. For instance, in Mt. 5:13 Jesus describes our function as that of salt. In biblical times, salt served three main functions: It purified, preserved, and added flavor. How can we as followers of Christ perform each of these functions in our culture?
2. Describe a time when you’ve seen someone act as salt in a specific situation.
3. Read Col. 4:5-6. What do you think Paul means by conversation that is "seasoned with salt" (bearing in mind the three functions of salt)?
4. In Mt. 5:14-16, Jesus calls us "the light of the world." According to these verses, when are we most effective as light?
5. When are we least effective?
6. What are some keys to being "shiny" Christians?
2 Cor. 3:18
7. In 1 Pet. 2:4-5, Peter describes believers as "being built into a spiritual house." In other words, we are temples—the earthly dwelling places of God. According to Jn. 17:23 and Col. 1:27, what is one reason God chose us to be His earthly temples?
8. In Peter’s religious tradition, the temple represented God’s presence in the community. Circle the settings in which you are a presence in your community.
9. What is one way you’ve seen God work because you were willing to be present in your community?
10. Peter also describes the believer’s role in the world as that of a priest. Read 1 Pet. 2:9. What does being a priest imply about your relationship with God?
What does it imply about your relationship with the world? (It may help you to know that the root word here means "bridge builder.")
11. According to Peter, what message are we to declare to those around us?
12. Schedule a block of time to reflect on what it has meant to you to be called by God "out of darkness into his wonderful light." Ask God to give you the name of someone who would benefit from hearing your story of deliverance.
13. Peter also calls us "aliens" (1 Pet. 2:11-12). Hebrews 11 describes "heroes of faith," many of whom lived in this world as aliens. Read the chapter, and then list your observations of what living as aliens looked like for them.
14. In Jer. 29:4-9, God speaks through His prophet to people in exile. What instructions did God give the Israelites who were in Babylon?
15. What warnings did He give them?
16. How are we like those Old Testament exiles?
17. While Scripture urges us into the world to be influencers, it also warns us not to let the world influence us. Read Ro. 12:1-2. What does Paul warn against here?
18. What is the alternative to conformity to the world?
19. How do the following verses describe the process of renewing your mind?
2 Cor. 10:3-5
1 Pet. 1:13
20. In light of these verses, is there anything you'd like to change about your mental diet?
21. Many of us are familiar with the admonition in 1 Pet. 3:15 to "always be prepared to give an answer." But Peter precedes that instruction by saying, "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord." Why is this important if we are going to engage with the world?
22. Summarize the most helpful insight you’ve gained about your role as a believer in the world.
23. Summarize the most helpful insight you’ve gained about how to influence the world without being influenced.