I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
John 17:14-18 (NIV)
Read: John 17
Consider: I have written before on the topic of being in the world, yet being separate from it. This is because as Christians our ultimate home is not here on earth, but with Jesus. This is confirmed by Jesus’ own words in John 17:16 where he says: They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Despite this, Jesus also says that he does not want God to take believers out of the world, but that they would be protected from satan. Although Jesus knows that as believers we do not belong in the world, we need God’s protection because we currently live in the world.
If you think back to the last few posts where we were considering James’ message to the believers it is clear that he was concerned that a believer’s profession would be matched by how they lived, what they said and how they handled money. Jesus also understands human nature and the weaknesses we have. He was after all completely God, yet completely human. You can be sure that Jesus knows your weaknesses, but take heart that he has already prayed that God would protect you,
Why would Jesus not want his followers to be taken out of the world? Surely this would have been easier all round? Jesus wants all those who follow him to live in the world, playing their part in sharing the good news of the gospel. He knows that the testimony of someone who remains strong in the face of temptation and the desire to conform to society’s standards, will have a significant impact on those around them.
Pray: Father, may we be strong and faithful to you when we face the temptation to adopt the world’s standards. Protect us from satan and what he would throw at us, seeking to draw us away from you. May our witness be such that it speaks of your power in our lives day-by-day. Amen