What does it mean to be in the world but not of the world? Jesus warned His followers of challenges they could possibly face in life.
As His followers, we know we can depend on God’s love throughout our days. The world’s reaction to Christians though is much less predictable.
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” John 15:18-19
We all like to fit in. We like the acceptance of others as they include our involvement in their activities. God created us as social beings. But how much should Christians fit into the things of the world?
In this verse, Jesus didn’t come right out and say they will hate us. It was, however, a concern of His. Look what He prayed for us in John 17.
Jesus’ Prayer for Us
I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. John 17:15-16
Satan, the prince of this earth despises the Lord and His followers. So it shouldn’t surprise us if his followers act the same way. Jesus said remember “the world hated me first.”
He went on to say if the world loves you then you are of it. So how do we know if we have more of the world in us than we are supposed to? Is there a fine line between the two?
Occasionally I will post a devotional blog on a secular Facebook blog group. For the most part, people will tolerate them or I might get a comment or two.
I wrote one once I thought was exceptionally good that dealt with salvation. I was unexpectedly shocked by the bombardment of hateful comments it produced. The last time I had checked there were 87 in all.
Two people headed up that conversation with very anti-Christian voices. I not only prayed for them but I asked our church to pray for them as well. There are plenty of people and groups who quickly vocalize how much they hate Christians.
We Are In The World But Not Of It
As I ponder on my relationship with this worldly society. I understand first of all that I can’t separate myself from it. That is unless I want to be a monk or something like one.
Even if a person secluded themselves from the everyone, they still have to have interaction with someone.
Along with praying for our safety, in verse 11 of John 17 Jesus also prayed for our protection.
Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. John 17:11
The world may not necessarily hate me nor does it necessarily love me. Is there a fine line between the two? I don’t think so. There’s more of a wide space between the two.
I can of my choices make the others hate me by my actions. but how would that profit anyone? But let’s look at the other side of the coin. Being worldly would cause me to be identified with the world. And Jesus said to come out of the that.
What Makes You Tick?
I believe in the space which I occupy some people wonder what makes me tick. Many of them appreciate the unwavering stands and convictions in my life. Even though they don’t really understand them.
Some don’t understand why I don’t drink alcohol or gamble. Others wonder why I spend an enormous amount of time at the church. And why I constantly seek God’s will for my life.
Because my ways are not fully understood. And because they are not things that are commonly practiced by my unsaved friends. There are activities I am not invited to participate in. Which is fine with me.
So being the Christian I am, they like me at arm’s length which is ok. What good would I be to God’s Kingdom if I have no interaction with the worldly folks around me?
Lord, thank you for giving me an understanding of why worldly people might not like me. And even go as far as hating me.
Thank you for keeping me safe and protecting me as I go about my Father’s business.
Here is a related post that talks about how Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for everyone. I wrote a post you may be interested called How To Set Your Mind On The Things Of Heaven.
Check out all of John 15.
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