In the World, Not of It
Lord, help me to see what it means to be part of this world, but also to be distinct from it.
Read JOHN 17:6–19
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 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. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
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 we walk in the light (1 John 1:7) in a world darkened by sin and selfishness, how is it even possible to fit in? Why the surprise when we don’t?
Jesus’ disciples are about to face the biggest crisis of their lives. How will they cope? What may they hope for, as their Lord prepares to depart from them? What consolation do they have? Central to their encouragement is that six times Jesus says they are God’s gift to him, having first belonged to God (6,9,12). That shows not only his affection for them but also the basis for their glorification! God’s nature and character have been revealed to them (6). They are now reassured not only that God sent Jesus and that everything he has belongs also to them (10) but also that they are partners with him in the work of God (7,8,11,26)—and they have accepted his words (6,8). So what is to be their focus in the days ahead?
Their unity with the Father and Son leads to their protection (11) as they step out in their work. They are to be committed to the truth of all they have been taught. The way Jesus prays for them leads them to know his joy (13). They are to be made holy through all this (17,19), dedicated to serving God’s purpose in a threatening world (18) as Jesus continues his mission through them. This commission is demanding, hence his prayer that they will be protected by God’s word. “Father, keep them,” Jesus prays. “Guard them from the evil one” (15), because of the hatred they are sure to encounter.
Living for Jesus and being available for the service of the Gospel require consistent encouragement. Jesus’ prayer reassures them as they go out in his service. Remember Paul’s message: “He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:15).
How do Paul’s words, as well as Jesus’ prayer, encourage us as we live in this world with a mission?
Lord, You have sanctified me through Your truth and attached me to Your Word. Help me to live accordingly.