How would you describe the Christian’s relationship to the world?
How about this: it’s complicated.
In His high priestly prayer, Jesus described our messy relationship to the world. He was speaking about the apostles, but it also applies to us. Jesus said the apostles were
- given out of the world (v 6),
- but still in the world (v 11),
- and hated by the world (v 14a),
- because they are not of the world (v 14b),
- and yet were sent into the world (v 18).
Of course, in that respect, we are not unlike our Master, Jesus. His relationship with the world was also complicated. How? Jesus—
- Existed before the world (v 5),
- And is no longer in the world (v 11),
- And not of the world (v 16),
- But was sent into the world (v 18)
- So the world may believe (v 21, 23).
As Christians, I’m sure we all feel the pull of divided loyalties.
We were born into this world—into particular communities, states, and nations—and feel an attachment for our home. We love the world, after a fashion. And so does God! (John 3:16).
But as believers, we’re strangers in this world. We are born again. We have eternity within us. We long to be with God in the next world. And that will happen.
But not yet.
There’s still a job to do.
God has a mission for you—to stay in the world, so you can be sent to the world and share Jesus’ promise of life so the world may believe and be saved.
Your relationship status with the world may be complicated but there’s hope for reconciliation!