“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19 (NIV)
You no longer belong to the world. I have chosen you from out of the world. Even though you still live in the world you are no longer of the world. I have changed you. You will think differently than those who are in the world. Your values will not be the same. Your desires will be different. You will want what I want. You will desire to know and do my will. You will want to accomplish my purposes. You will speak differently than those who are in the world. Your words will give life. You words will build others up rather than tear them down. You will act differently than those who are in the world. Your actions will offer healing and help and hope to others. In every way you will stand out in the world. You will shine brightly for me. You will be like a light set on a hill. You will be like salt that adds a pleasant flavor in the world. Others will be drawn to you because they will see me living in and through your life. That’s the good news. Is there news that isn’t quite so good? Do you mean what’s the bad news? Yes, I suppose so. I didn’t want to say it quite like that.
The world hated me. The world will hate you. This should never take you by surprise. The world’s hate will take on many forms. You will be ridiculed. You will be disdained. You will be mocked. The world rejected me. The world will reject you. What do you think of all this? On one hand this sounds terrible. On the other hand it comes as very good news. Why do you say that? The world will remind me that I do not belong to it when it hates me. The world will affirm to me that I belong to you when I am mistreated by it. The world will encourage me to draw near to you to receive your comfort, encouragement and strength when I have been rejected by it. The world will let me know that I am shining brightly for you when its darkness tries to overcome me. There is one thing that I know for certain. What’s that? You are with me as I live in this world. Yes, I am. You will give me all the help I need as I live in this world for you. Yes, I will.
Lord, thank you for choosing me out of the world. Even though I still live in the world I am no longer of the world. Help me to shine brightly in the world as one of your followers. I will be encouraged when I am hated because I know the world also hated you. Amen
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