It’s one of the catch-phrases we Christians use, “Remember, we’re in the world, but not of the world.” Actually, I’m reminded this morning that it’s a lot more than just a catch-phrase. But sometimes I think we forget that, and so it gets put on the shelf with those other phrases we call “Christian-ese.” If it is Christian-ese . . . then Jesus leverages a lot of Christian-ese as He prepares to depart to Father and thinks about the implications of leaving His disciples behind.
“I have manifested Your name to the people whom You gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. . . . And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. . . . 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 ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” ~ Jesus
(John 17:6, 11, 14-16 ESV)
Not gonna lie, I like the idea of being prayed for. Though I’ve always felt I could be more of a prayer warrior for others, I have sure appreciated knowing that others are providing “air cover” on my behalf. And, while I know that, specifically, Jesus is praying for His disciples here, I’m thinking it has application for all those the Father has given the Son–and that includes me.
So I’m reading John 17 this morning and noodling on what Jesus has to say to the Father about me . . . and about my relationship to the world.
I was given to the Son “out of the world.” But I am still “in the world.” And Jesus isn’t asking the Father that I be physically removed from the world as He soon will be. Instead, He twice states the truth of who I am, that I am “not of the world” and intercedes to the Father on my behalf that He keep me from the “evil one” and the increasingly darkening economy of the evil one’s domain.
Hence, Jesus uses, rather Jesus defines what we sometimes write-off as Christian-ese. But the truth of the matter, according to the Word of truth, is that we are in the world, but not of the world.
To live as if we are “of the world” is hypocrisy because it’s not who we are. To live like the world and for the world is to essentially wear a mask and hide the reality that we are ambassadors of another place and another space.
We are children of God, not citizens of earth. We are those who have born again to be a holy nation, those who have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of the Beloved Son (Col.1:13). Those who have been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1Peter 2:9). To live any other way would be “faking it” before the world.
We don’t work our way out of the world, we have been taken out of the world and given to the Son by the Father. Thus, as new creations in Christ, while we are in this world, we are not of the world. It just isn’t who we are.
Good reminder this morning. And nice to be reminded that Someone is praying for me . . . and that His Father is keeping me . . . by His Spirit who lives in me.
To Him be all glory for such amazing grace!