Lesson Four – Followers of Christ are not of the world, however, we are in the world.

As you walk through the many streets of Disneyworld, you see many different people. One of the things that really struck me was that people were wearing things I know they would never dare wear in public on a regular basis. Men and women had on their Mickey ears with various costumes to match. Kim and were matching on a couple of days and it was fun. I doubt you’ll see us do that at the women’s kick-off this year. 😊The idea is to have fun by joining into the make-believe atmosphere. When going to a public venue, like Disneyworld, we must remember it is not a retreat for followers of Christ. That means we will witness lifestyles, bad language, selfish attitudes, and those who would mock our Lord and Savior. We were in line for a ride on one day when I heard a discussion behind me. One of the young ladies of the group said, “Come on! Gender is overrated!” Wow, how do you overrate gender? We are either male or female and as followers of Christ, that is what we believe. Did I witness partners of the same sex walking around? Yes. Do I think Disneyworld is involved in being politically correct? Yes. The one thing I know for sure Disneyworld is of this world and I am not. So, how will we handle these disruptions in our lives? What are we to do just stay home and hide away? The truth is even if we do hide away, we can’t hide from our own sinful thoughts and deeds. We can get ourselves into sinful situations without any input from the world. Let’s look at a few points from Jesus’ prayer in John 17.

  • The world hates followers of Christ because they hate Christ.

This is a fact stated by Jesus in John 17:14. We always seem to think something else will happen. The rebellion of this world is against our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This will not change until “every knee bows and tongue confesses” (Philippians 2:10). Until that time we will be hated. This world is not our home and does not treat us like family but God’s people will and should. Our joy comes from being loved by him.

  • God’s Word is truth and we are set apart in that truth.

Jesus prays for his children to be sanctified in God’s truth in John 17:17. To be sanctified is to be set apart. God in his marvelous grace and mercy has saved us from sin and darkness. We are in the world and we need to wash ourselves with the Word of God regularly. By doing this, we can recognize the world and its influence in our lives which will cause us to turn back to the truth. We can’t live in this world without the truth. Our joy comes from being led by the truth of his Word.

  • Unity in the household of God is vital as we live in this world.

In John 17:21, Jesus prays for our unity. It’s so very important for us to love each other well. Our love will grow for each other as we look to Jesus for our example of love. It’s interesting to realize that when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, he washed Judas’ feet. He knew that within a few hours, this man would betray him to the authorities. His knowledge of this didn’t keep him from serving Judas. The culture of this world is contrary to the Word of God. We don’t know how far it will go until judgment happens but we know, our God is with us. He wants us to be with one another. We allow many things that don’t really matter to divide us. The bottom line is we always think we’re right. That kind of thinking doesn’t bring about unity in the body of Christ. Our Pastor has always said we should be a bag of grapes all mushed together, not marbles bumping into one another. We are to move as one in unity for the gospel’s sake. Living in this world will be easier when we know there is a family of believers who have our backs. Our joy comes from being able to encourage, carry, and love one another.

  • The example of lifting others in prayer is given to us. Are we praying?

I find that it’s easier to condemn than to pray for the world. Condemnation doesn’t promote the gospel but prayer does. Our job is to be a light in this world for the gospel. We can’t do that if all we do is condemn the world. Yes, we call sin, sin! We don’t apologize for that but then we pray. There were many to pray for as I walked through Disneyworld. Some so sad and lost in the system which will not save them. Others who no longer think with logic and say things which make no sense. In the end, they need Jesus. Are we being a light in this world? Smiles, saying please and thank you, being generous with tips, or helping someone put heavy objects in cars are all easy things we can do. Recently, I went to brunch with some ladies and one of them said to the waitress, “we pray before we eat. Is there something we can pray for you?” I loved that and it opened up a dialogue with this woman who was facing some difficulties in her life. We prayed for her. Simple but a gospel light. Our joy will come as we begin to shine our light in this world.

For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” John 13:15

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