Daily Devotional - 2 July 2020
“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18).
Jesus has a job for us to do–to disciple others as we go about our everyday activities, teaching others what we’ve been taught and baptizing those who choose to believe. But it’s just not that simple..or so we think. How can I go into the world–be ‘in’ it–yet remain loyal in my walk with Jesus–not ‘of’ the world. During my time of devotional this morning, I came across Billy Graham’s advice on this very topic:
“Some may contend that the way for the Church to make the world a better place is to become like it. But whenever the Church does this, it ends up compromising its spiritual authority and losing its influence. Instead of changing the world, the world changes it.
God doesn’t want us to isolate ourselves. In praying for His disciples Jesus said, ‘As you have sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world’ (John 17:18). If we isolate ourselves from others, we have no impact and demonstrate a lack of love.
But neither does God want us to become like the unbelieving world. We are to be separate, refusing to adopt its motives, attitudes and patterns of behaviour. The Bible warns, ‘All that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world’ (1 John 2:16). Let Christ fill your life, and there won’t be room for the world” (“Hope for Each Day” by Billy Graham, July 2 entry).
I must confess myself a little disappointed with the answer, “Let Christ fill your life, and there won’t be room for the world.” True...but again I ask, how does that look? I think I have found a good picture of what it means to ‘be in the world and not of it’ in the writings of another of my favourite authors. Philip Yancey provides this story in his book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace” (a book I would highly recommend for anyone who has never read it). He described how a doctor in a prisoner of war camp was at a loss for how to help those who were becoming sick with dysentery. The camp was located in a swamp and the only available water was causing everyone to become sick; with no fresh water to hydrate the ill, they only worsened and died. One day as he was praying, he looked out over the swamp and noticed the graceful palm trees growing tall and lush in the swamp. At the top of each he saw bunches of green coconuts. And it dawned on him (or was inspired by the Holy Spirit, I think), that here was the solution. Each of those coconuts contained pure liquid, despite the fact that the water the trees grew in was toxic. After that very few of the sick died of dysentery, because he was able to hydrate them with wholesome coconut milk.
What a great picture of how we’re to be ‘in the world’ like the palm trees, but not ‘of it.’ The fruit produced in our lives–the motives, attitudes and patterns of behaviour–should resemble the life of Christ and not the more commonly found ones we find all around us day to day. As Billy Graham encourages us, we are to fill up our lives with Christ so much so that there is no room for anything else. When we have got the Holy Spirit living in us, it shouldn’t matter where we’re planted; His fruit that is produced in our lives will be wholesome. The key is allowing God to take precedence in our lives–choosing each day to live for Him, His way!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!