Downside of Discipleship
Lord, help me seriously to count the cost of following You.
Read JOHN 15:18–25
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
If walking the Christian walk were easy, why would anyone deserve a reward for compliance?
Jesus has already made various statements about the world—it doesn’t see or know God (John 14:17; cf. 14:19,22–24,27). Its inherent opposition to believers is developed here. The “if” in verse 18 could be rendered “since.” Even though God’s people are told to make love the focus of their attitudes and actions, this will not prevent opposition. The picture here is of two mutually exclusive sets of people, one chosen “out of the world” (19), obeying Christ’s words (20) and not belonging to the world (19), as over against the other rejecting and opposing Christ (20), not knowing God (21; cf. John 16:3) and, being guilty, having no excuse for its sinfulness (22,23), rooted in its hatred of both Father and Son (24,25).
So opposition is inevitable, and Jesus issues no false pretensions about this. He wants every follower of his to understand the cost of bearing his name in a sinful, rebellious world. Our association with Jesus means not simply serving one another, but bracing for opposition over our Christian attitudes and beliefs. A source of this opposition is our exposure of evil. Jesus discloses evil during his ministry by his words (22) and his works, including his miracles (24). He is the Light who exposes the darkness of this world (John 3:19,20). If we are living Christ-like lives, our “works” and “words” will often oppose the manner of life of those around us. By our attitudes and behavior in our work setting, the upright ethical standards we live by and our goals and values, we perhaps unconsciously expose the “fruitless deeds of darkness” (Eph. 5:11).
Have you met hostility because of your Christian stand on moral or other issues? Beware of a comfortable version of Christianity that merely seeks peace where there is no peace.
Lord, give me the inner strength to withstand the opposition those around me deploy against me.
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