“If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.”
—John 15:19 (NRSV)
These red-lettered words written above are written in the blood of truth. We will not find many friends in the world—in our culture. Only those who resonate with the truth—fellow lovers of the truth—will we befriend.
This can be an isolating knowledge.
This fact, that we are isolated like aliens in the world, means our strength must come from God alone, by faith, and especially through the support of genuine Christian fellowship. To gain strength in the Lord we must rally with those who love the truth.
Preparing for Danger in This World
I wonder if we’ve ever noticed how dark and bizarre the world actually is. We are all sucked into its culture with aberrant effect. We are tempted in sin and seduced into making the Gospel message ‘relevant’, ‘pleasing’, even enticing. But if the world knew what the Gospel consisted of—the true Gospel, which requires us to bear our crosses—it would hate us all the more. Only those ready to proceed into the Kingdom will receive it in joy.
It’s not God’s will for us to get down about the world. Jesus has overcome the world. We often fail in forgetting this.
We can accept our world as crooked, yet still be on the lookout for those open to the truth. We are to live within optimistic realism. It is better by far for us, in preparing for danger in this world, to congregate around some of the like-minded; those who love truth. Being around these kind, enjoying godly fellowship, augments optimistic realism where truth and intimacy between people may flourish. In such an environment we can grow—by pushing each other on, in truth.
Danger in This World Is a Precursor for Faith
God has given us the perfect tool in dealing with our world: Faith.
When we approach life in the Spirit’s strength, proving our personal weakness as valid for faithful living, we are able to climb over many temptations of anger, envy, and pride, etc. This is how we will know the presence of God in our lives: our selfish priorities and simplistic order of logic vanish into the distance, for the surpassing knowledge of faith. That is, that we begin to believe in those things we hope for, but cannot yet see.
This is why the world hates us. It does not understand. It seems illogical. They see us fight for the truth against even our own agendas. Because the world doesn’t understand it cannot trust us.
And to one extent this is good news...
Living in the world actually does us a favour. Conflict is fuel for the firing of faith:
“Faith must be tested, because it can only be turned into a personal possession through conflict.”
—Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
We will never understand true Christian living until we realise the world hates us. The world cannot trust a logic it doesn’t understand. The world’s hatred should not offend Christians. We should understand.
When we understand that faith is the method to get us through all circumstances, then we have strength; the matchless, immutable strength of the Lord. Faith can get us through all circumstances of conflict. By faith, alone, we are begotten of God.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.