Over-simplistic perhaps, but a helpful hand-guide I use with students:
Retreat – We can’t run away from the world. It would be like getting a prom dress but only wearing it in your closet. We’re clothed with Jesus to show off:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
Defeat – We can’t use worldly power to establish God’s kingdom. Think of a teacher who changed your life. Did they do it through threats? Grades? Powerplays? No – servanthood. Inspiration. If at heart Christianity is a matter of the heart, power has no place in spreading it.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” – 1 Peter 2:21-23
Delete – We can’t self-identify with the world. It would ruin the point we’re making. I remember justifying my going to an inappropriate movie with friends in high-school so that I could “be a better witness.” Yeah, because we totally did a Bible study right after. NOT.
“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12
So what do we do?
We Robin Hood our culture.
Here is Robin Hood, in the midst of a usurped kingdom, awaiting the coming of King Richard. He and his merry men don’t retreat. They stay.
They don’t defeat – they don’t rise up and vie for the throne.
They don’t delete – they stay true and faithful to the just and righteous king.
They live in the midst of their culture, according to the principles of the true king (it’s not stealing, in that sense, since they’re just working in tandem with the true king’s laws). They take the resources of their world and do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their king.
And that’s us. No, don’t go rob your local liquor store to feed the hungry.
But do “plunder the Egyptians”, and walk humbly with your true hero and King, Jesus. Don’t retreat. Don’t defeat. Don’t delete.