“Oh, get real, will ya?”
Such is the retort one might hear when others believe we are living in a fantasy world, or are not seeing things in life as they really are. “You need to start living in ‘the real world.'” I have seen similar statements made against those who invest great qualities of time in online gaming, or who are deeply embedded in the world of social media.
I have also seen this concept presented by those who believe it to be a statement of practicality when addressing the spiritual life. The emphasis suggests that a spiritual life is fine and beneficial, but we must also live in “the real world.” Those who make such proclamations could not possibly be more misguided, or more off-target.
The fact of the matter is, at this moment, we are not living in the real world. In truth, we are living in a world that is badly scarred, dying, and passing with every breath we breathe.
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
– Isaiah 65:17, ESV
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
– 1 John 2:17, ESV
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
– 2 Peter 3:6, NIV-1978
The physical world we occupy isn’t even the world God created. Our world has fallen, become corrupted, tainted. The world as God created it was “very good.”1 But when sin entered the world, and death came by sin,2 the entirety of creation began to groan and travail under the curse of sin and death.3
The world is not as it is supposed to be. But the day is coming when the curse will be lifted forever. The infection will be cured.
…the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into glorious freedom of the children of God.
– Romans 8:21, NIV-1978
The world we inhabit, the fallen world, is under the dominion of Satan, the “prince of this world.”4 It is he who holds sway over all the kingdoms of the world.5
For this reason, we, as Christ-followers, do not conform to the fallen world,6 but rather to the image of Christ.7 We live soberly, rightly, godly lives in this fallen world as we look forward to that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!8
When everything is set aright, it is my hope and expectation to be among those who hear that loud cry:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
– Revelation 21:3, NIV-1978
1. Genesis 1:31
2. Romans 5:12
3. Romans 8:22
4. John 12:31
5. Matthew 4:8
6. Romans 12:1-2
7. Romans 8:29
8. Titus 2:12-13