What does being "in the world, but not of the world" really mean? It can mean that, as Christians, we live here, on planet Earth ("the world"), but are not of it because we now belong to heaven. That's one explanation. For a lot of people, it means that even though we live here in the world we should shun anything that the world produces because if it isn't labelled as being "Christian" it's probably evil. Right? Makes sense? I think not. I think that that mindset can heavily influence a person to become "so heavenly minded they're no earthly good." I think it's sad that this world, which God created has become divided into "Christian" and "secular". And I don't just mean people, the saved and the unsaved. Movies, music, books, clothing, activities, have all been divided into these categories.
Believe it or not, I have seen some movies that were not "Christian" films, and they have pointed me to Christ in a more powerful way than some of those "Christian" movies ever could. I have heard so-called secular music that more passion and power in it than many of the wishy-washy Christian songs out there. I have read books, books that have even been shunned by the Christian community, books that are stuffed full with images of Christ and the Gospel and have amazing depth. I've also read Christian books that were undeniably shallow and almost pointless in comparison.
Yes, there is evil out there. Granted, there are movies that are full of sin and have little or no redeeming value. And there is music that is not worth listening to. And there are books that do, in fact, go against Christ and everything that we believe. But not all of them.
At Christ for the Nations, the Bible College where Aaron and I met, one of the teachers came out one day and walked up to a piano. He played a single note, a "C", and he said, "That is a 'C'. It's isn't Christian or secular. It's just a 'C'." That has always stuck with me. In this life and in this world, I don't think that we should be living by labels. God is everywhere. He is not restricted to our divisions of things. You can't put Him in a box.
What do I think it means to be "in the world but not of the world"? I think it means that we recognize that there is a bigger picture, a hidden undercurrent that we can't see to everything that we can. I think it means that we are always playing a game of "where's Jesus?" We are always looking for Him everywhere and in everything. After all, when Jesus was here in the flesh, He wasn't hanging out at the synagogue all the time. His disciples weren't made up of priests and Pharisees. Ususally, He was found with sinners.
So, I encourage you to look for Him in unlikely places. You never know where He might turn up.