Hated by the World
John 17:14-15 (AMP) I have given to them Your word [the message You gave Me]; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world and do not belong to the world, just as I am not of the world and do not belong to it. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one.
If you are a Christian it is likely you know very well that some people of the world (those who do not know Jesus or have completely rejected Him) will not like you, at all. In fact, the scripture reveals that they will hate us because we are not like them and we don't belong to the world as they do. Persecution is nothing new on the earth. If you have been a Christian for years and have never been persecuted for your faith, I would question your commitment to Christ. When I received Christ at age 20, I literally lost every single friend I had. Some even refused to come to my wedding because there wouldn't be any alcohol served. This was tough because I finally found what would make me happy and fulfilled in life, I finally filled that gaping hole in my heart with the love of Christ and only desired to share it with everyone! Sadly, everyone was not as thrilled as I was. They thought that if they went to church and became a Christian, they couldn't have "fun" anymore. To them, fun was getting wasted on the weekend and sleeping around. They didn't understand that when you really accept Christ, He will take away the desires of the world. He will put His desires in your heart - you become brand-new!
This is great news because He didn't die so we can live by a set of rules and regulations, no one told me to quit drinking, quit cussing and quit watching filthy movies. God changed my heart, my desires were to just please Him and come to know Him better. The things of the world no longer pleased me, they actually disgusted me. When a movie came on that was filled with sex and bad language, it felt like a knife was going through my heart. I had to turn it off because my spirit knew it was not something that would be edifying and it was no longer acceptable behavior (because I now knew what led to the path of destruction rather than the path of righteousness). My eyes were finally opened to spiritual things and anything that was dishonoring God became evident sin to me.
When you find something you absolutely love, like an amazing restaurant or a fashion store with great prices, you tell all of your friends and co-workers. When you find the one you are going to marry, you tell everyone! Why? Because it is a part of you and it's too good to keep to yourself. I found what was eternal and everlasting and if I didn't say it verbatim, I showed it in my life. My life was completely changed because of Christ and only for the better. It is scary to think where I would be today if I had not accepted that invitation to go to church with my friend, Josh, whom became my husband.
I say all of these things not to condemn anyone who isn't being persecuted or to scare someone from sharing Christ, I say this to challenge your faith and commitment to Him. The earth is full of compromise today and if you really want to make a change while you are here, do something great for Christ! (this doesn't require a large audience, just obedience!) Do not be afraid of the persecution, Jesus prayed that we would not be taken out of the world but that God would protect us from the evil one. You are protected by a Heavenly Father. One who knew you and loved you before the foundation of the world! Try to wrap your mind around that! He will accept you as you are, but He loves you too much to leave you there. He wants to change you and make you the person He designed you to be. Allow Him to make you brand-new!
John 17:17 (AMP) Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth.