August 11, 2021
“I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” – John 17:15-16
Have you ever heard the phrase, “in the world but not of the world”? I think of it every fall as I send my kids back to school. I know that when they head out that door they will be exposed to all kinds of ungodly influences in this world. There is always the temptation to keep them sheltered from anything contrary to the teachings of God. When Proverb 22:6 says, “raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not stray from it,” I can easily interpret it as saying my job is to keep my child away from the evil world we live in. When we think of “in the world, not of the world,” we often think, “well, we’re stuck here, so let’s be as detached as possible until Jesus comes back.”
But then we come to Jesus’ prayer in John 17… the prayer that actually spawned this well-known phrase. Jesus prays for us to remain here. We are not here by mistake. We are not stuck here. It is Jesus’ deep desire… his last prayer before the cross… that we would remain in this world. The reason we are not of this world but still in it is that this world desperately needs light. The reason I need to raise up my children in the ways of God is because, as I send them off to school, they are meant to shine in every dark place. We are not stuck in this world. We are here for a purpose. Live out that purpose with great intentionality and Joy. Truly be in this world while refusing to be of it.
Lord, give us an understanding that You desire us to be here. Help us dig in our heels here on this earth. Let us live in the midst of this world while rising above the darkness. Empower us to be in the world and not of the world in a way that answers the prayer of Jesus Christ for our lives.
In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Shane Cannon