Posts Tagged 'Not of this world'

Persecution

JESUS SPEAKING

      “If the world hates you, you will know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I have spoken to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15: 18 – 20.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Jesus was persecuted relentlessly during His earthly ministry. He was slandered publicly and privately. He was shunned by many, and ridiculed, even by members of His own family. His message was so offensive that He was nearly stoned to death on several occasions. Eventually, despite His miraculous feats, and His immeasurable love, Jesus Christ was abandoned by His closest friends; He was bound and beaten; spit upon and crucified. Those who choose to follow Him can expect to experience some manner of persecution.
      Eleven of the twelve disciples were brutally martyred for their unwavering faith. They paid the ultimate price for fearlessly spreading the gospel throughout the known world. Although physical peril is a common type of persecution, it comes in many other forms. One day, many years ago, as I sat studying in the local coffee shop, I began talking with a Muslim friend concerning the tenants of the Christian faith. As I presented her with the gospel, a woman sitting next to us became visibly upset. Not knowing that we were already friends, she yelled “Can’t you see she doesn’t want to talk to you about that?” The woman continued to verbally harass me, making every effort to subvert the conversation. In the middle of the pestering, I looked at my friend and said, “This is the type of persecution that occurs when you become a believer.” Eventually the woman became so disruptive that we had to end our discussion.
      Persecution is an inevitable consequence of genuine faith. If you are not experiencing some form of persecution, then perhaps you are keeping your beliefs hidden away; choosing safety and security above obedience to the Lord. Still there are those who boldly spread the gospel message. These individuals can expect to be persecuted. Persecution, in any form, isn’t very pleasant; yet it is a reminder that we are earnestly following in the footsteps of our teacher, our master, and our friend.
      “Lord Heavenly Father, provide us with opportunities to preach the gospel to others. May we reach out to those who might become our brothers and sisters. Strengthen us when we encounter persecution; that we might stand firm in the faith. Give us courage to boldly speak the truth, that we would continue to emulate our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

Not of This World

JESUS SPEAKING

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” (John 17: 13 – 18)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

This world, with all of its destructive values and carnal temptations persists in direct opposition to the righteous virtues that exist in God’s eternal kingdom. When we stand for Jesus, we are standing against the world, because like Christ, we are not of this world. We are governed by a higher set of laws; which, when exhibited properly, directly elicit hatred and disdain from individuals primarily driven by their fleshly appetites. As Christians, we choose to struggle against the worldly forces that are meant to induce our conformity.

Before the days of modern navigational aids, a traveler made the Atlantic crossing in a boat equipped with two compasses. One was fixed to the deck where the man at the wheel could see it. The other compass was fastened high on one of the masts; which the sailors would often be seen climbing up to inspect. As the story goes, a passenger once asked a captain, “Why do you have two compasses?” The captain replied, “This is an iron vessel, and the compass on the deck is often affected by its surroundings. Such is not the case with the compass at the masthead; that one is above the influence. We steer by the compass above.” We as Christians must do the same.

As we navigate through this hostile environment, our Christian lives are governed by God’s highest laws; values that exist above, and transcend this world’s passing pleasures and temptations. Abandoning selfishness, we cling to the fruits of the Spirit, which are ‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control,’ to name just a few. If we steer according to God’s higher compass, we will never lose our course.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we seek to accomplish Your will in this place. Guide us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we might never be conformed to the carnal values of this passing life. As we walk in the truth and journey toward Your eternal kingdom, help us to remain focused on what is good and right. Strengthen us, that we may withstand the persecution which accompanies the expression of our Christian virtues. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray. Amen.” God bless all of you!


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