John 17:15, 16 - In The World, But Not Of It.
John 17:15, 16 - In The World, But Not Of It.
John 17:15, 16 (NIV) My prayer is not that you take them out of
the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not
of the world, even as I am not of it.
CONTEXT: Jesus Prays for His Disciples: John 17:6-19.
As Jesus was entering into the last days of his life on earth,
he prayed for his disciples and for all disciples to come. His
petitions were for union with the Father, joy, protection, and usefulness.
The sequence of those petitions is significant (Joh.17:11-17)
Friendship with Christ is the first priority and is basic for
the qualities that follow. Out of that intimate, love relationship,
joy is a logical consequence. Jesus knew, as he prayed for his
disciples, that if they did indeed come into fellowship with him and
exhibit the kind of full-fledged joy that he gives, there would be
opposition from the world, and so he prayed not that his disciples would be
protected from the world or taken out of it into a kind of insulated, holy
huddle, but that they would be protected form anything that would
destroy that union and joy. Then, out of that dynamic partnership,
usefulness would naturally flow.
The more I know Him, the more I experience that deep inner
well of joy that is not dependent on external circumstances. This
joy is present even in the midst of suffering and sorrow; it is a
motivating power even in discouragement and dismay. [Jeanie Miley; Time
with God devotional SB]
APPLICATION COMMENTARY With Emphasis On Verses 15, 16.
It would be nice to just go straight to heaven, wouldn't it?
Become a believer and-poof-you're on streets of gold. No more worries,
no more tears, no more bills, no more illness.
God could have done it that way, but he didn't. He chose
instead to leave us in the world with all of our foibles and
propensities to sin. He chose to have us continue to face hardship, pain,
persecution, and yes, even physical death.
Why? Well, because we have a job to do: to share the gospel
message with those who haven't heard. We are in the world, yet we're
awaiting the next world. We know that heaven is our true home, and we
eagerly anticipate that eternal abode. So we live differently while
here. We are in the world, but we are not of it.
Because Jesus sends you into the world, you should not try to
escape from the world, nor should you avoid all relationships with
non-Christians. You are called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16, January
5). [The One Year Bible for New Believers]
As I make my way through life, I am continually enamored with
the idea that God has chosen to relate personally with me. I am no
longer bound to my earthly citizenship; my identity lies in heaven. But
I am still here in this world. I keep coming back to this truth as
the words of Christ, on the night before he bled and died for my
sins, echo in my mind.
Jesus prays explicitly for his disciples not to be removed
from the world. He does not pray for God to zap them into heaven. No,
instead he prays for their protection from the evil one. I follow his
example and pray for the same thing. I have witnessed the desperate need
for this shield of protection as a public school student, the
president of my fraternity, a university graduate, a sinner, and a friend
to sinners. God has confirmed repeatedly that I am in the right
place--often directly in Satan's line of fire. But God's grace and the power
of prayer have protected me.
Too many of us, as Christ Ones--we who claim Christ as our
Lord--bubble ourselves off into a comfortable cocoon of hazard-free
Christianity. Why is that? In truth, we are called not to safety or to comfort
but to peril and discomfort. Where did this obsession with a
tranquil existence come from? Surely not from Christ.
So I don't pray for a comfortable picket-fence future; I pray,
as my Savior did, for protection from the evil one. Because make no
mistake, Satan is hard at work. Don't ask to be removed from danger--ask
to be protected from it.
Randall Payleitner is a writer, learner, brother, and
candidate for a master's of divinity degree from Moody Bible Institute,
Chicago, Illinois, [The One Year Bible Live Verse Devotional]
We must never allow anything to interfere with the consecration
of our spiritual power. Consecration (being dedicated to God's
service) is our part; sanctification (being set apart from sin and being
made holy) is God's part. We must make a deliberate determination to
be interested only in what God is interested. The way to make that
determination, when faced with a perplexing problem, is to ask yourself, "Is
this the kind of thing in which Jesus Christ is interested, or is it
something in which the spirit that is diametrically opposed to Jesus is
interested?" [My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers]
LINKS WORTH CHECKING OUT:
Songbirds - Lesson in Perseverance: