Thursday, August 14, 2014

Preventing Frostbite

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth.

John 17 ESV

My dad used to say that as Christians, we are IN the world, but not OF it. Jesus said that before his arrest. It's a crazy idea to try and be inside of something without being affected by it. The mere thought scares a lot of Christians today, so we hide ourselves away in a safe little corner where supposedly, the world can't get to us and harm us. If only life worked that way. 

Reality is, we live in a broken world (Genesis 3) but lucky for us, He loves His creation too much to leave it that way (hence Jesus death and resurrection). And wow does He love us because he decided to involve us in spreading the news about the hope we've been given. And not just any kind of hope... hope that means "anticipating the fulfillment of a promise." That's not wishful thinking. 

But this presents a dilemma for a lot of us. The world is icky, so we want to avoid it, but we live in it and it's kind of impossible to share our hope with people who don't have it if we don't venture out into the ick. 

So what now?

I said my dad used to talk about being "in the world, but not of it," right? Well, he also used to tell a little story. 

When it's cold outside, most people are faced with two choices: you can stay inside and wait for the weather to change, or you can choose to go out and accomplish what you need to do. BUT, if you wander outside in the cold wearing shorts and a T-shirt, you're going to get frostbite. It's just a fact of life. So when you do go out, the appropriate thing to do is put on a jacket. 


So here's the idea and its something I often struggle with: We are called to go and make disciples, which means getting uncomfortable and rubbing shoulders with the world. We are also called to show Jesus to the world by living out the Hope we have. So, while we are surrounded by hopelessness, we can't start acting like people without hope. Tough one. But God doesn't leave us to muddle through on our own. After all, Philippians 4:13 says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. 

Where does that leave us? Stop hiding. Stop isolating yourself from the world. Trust God to keep you standing string when you face temptation, and show the world what Christ has done in your life so that they too will want the Hope that he offers. Ask God to equip you with the tools that you need so that you can prevent frostbite. 

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