“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)
Being in the world but not of the world. Why can’t being a Christian be easy, or maybe just easier, rather than grappling with what it means to be in the world but not of the world?
The disciples were told that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and uttermost parts of the world. It’s easy to stay in familiar areas and on familiar ground, with familiar people, culture, and language. But, we are called to go with his Word into strange areas and the Holy Spirit will equip and lead us. And, engaging in prayer for those strange people in strange places is the beginning of the going even if you never physically leave.
While Christ was in the world, he was not of this world, and the world rejected him. But look at the effect he had. And we are God’s agents on Earth; we do have an impact on the people and world around us. “You are the light of the world.” “You are the salt of the earth.” We can only be this if we are in the world but not of it.
Any rejection we face is minor compared to the rejection Jesus faced. And we have the protection of the Holy Spirit while we are in the world.
John 17 is the longest recorded prayer of Jesus in which he prays for himself, “Now Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began”. He prays for his disciples, “For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them”. And Jesus prays for all believers, “May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me”.
Heavenly Father, we pray for the world that it may know you. We pray that through our presence in the world but not of the world, those around us come to know who you are and the sacrifice you made so that we may have life and the same relationship with you that Christ has with you. We pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.