One of those mornings when, rather than create, I go back over previous years’ posts for the day I read these passages in my reading plan and see what I was chewing on then. Ended up hovering over a devo from 2009 . . . re-running it “as is” below.
Morning routine has changed a bit since then, but not much. I chuckled at the news headline that got me bent out of shape back then–if only that was the worst thing in the news today. But what hasn’t changed, and in fact is increasingly evident, is that our world is in opposition to our Savior. What hasn’t changed is our need to beware of being drawn into a kingdom that stands opposed to our King. What hasn’t changed is that we live in a world at war with what we worship.
And what hasn’t changed is that though we are called to be in this world, we must be on guard against living for this world or living like this world.
By His grace. For His glory.
So, I’m kind of a creature of habit in the morning. I get up . . . turn on my computer . . . go downstairs and grab a cup of coffee and a glass of water . . . come back up to my study . . . open my e-mail program . . . bring up Internet Explorer . . . fire up i-Tunes and put some good “devotional music” on. When the internet comes up I usually have a quick glance at the news headlines on my homepage. This morning this headline caught my eye, “Atheist ads to adorn New York subway stations.” Brother! Then I settled into my reading plan. And then, as I’m reading in John 7, I came across something that brought that headline to mind . . .
“For even [Jesus’] brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘My time has not come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.’ ” (John 7:5-7)
Jesus had decided to lay low and stay out of Judea because of those who sought to kill Him. When it came time to for the Feast of Tabernacles, His brothers said that He should go to Jerusalem for the feast so He could show off His “works” . . . if, in fact, He really did such wonderful works. “For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly,” they said, “If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” (7:4). They didn’t believe. In fact, they mocked Him, “Go, show Yourself to the world . . . if You really have something to show it.” Jesus’ response to them provides insights as to why atheists are rallying together in New York to spend thousands of dollars to put up signs that say, “No God, No Guilt, Debaptize Now” where millions of commuters can see it each day. Plain and simply, they do it because the world hates Jesus.
Hate is a strong word. Yup. You mean, hate like in detest? Yup. Hate like in loathe to the point of wanting to destroy? That’s it. The world hates Jesus. Why? Because, Jesus says, He bears witness that, at its core, the ways and works of the world are evil. It was true then, when the religious elite were on a mission to kill Jesus . . . it’s true now, when men hang signs on subway walls in order to proclaim “No God.” The works of the world are dark . . . Jesus is light . . . “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:5).
And as I think about it, there are huge implications for us as followers of Christ. This world we live in . . . this culture we’re part of . . . is all part of a system that, at it’s core, is anti-Christ . . . not just ambivalent . . . but against the One who came to present Himself as an offering for sin, that the world might be saved. I know we’ve heard it a million times before, but really, how careful do we need to be so that we ensure that while we are in the world we are not of the world? James lays it out pretty clearly, “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
Maybe we’d just rather not think about it . . . but we have to. There is an abiding opposition to the things of Christ around us. We need to know that . . . be aware of that . . . and be careful, lest we end up acting like enemies of God ourselves because we’ve been drawn into a system of thought that, at it’s core, hates Jesus.
Heavy sigh . . .
Father, I receive Jesus’ statement of fact this morning as a warning. Help me to be alert to the world’s subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, opposition to my Lord. Impart the mind of Christ through the Spirit that I too might testify of its evil and flee its allure. Help me to be faithful to the One who has promised to be faithful to me. For Your glory alone . . . amen.