‘I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.’ John 16:4 (NIV)
Nobody likes to admit that to be a true follower of Jesus we will be at odds with our world. Those who admit it even need to be careful when and where they say it. It is not a popular theme. It is not a pleasant thought. But our Saviour went out of His way to get the point across to us. The believers who choose to step out of the world-oriented life and start living for Someone other than themselves are going to find out real quick that we will have fewer friends. Unfortunately this concept is not really being explained in sufficient clarity in our fast paced, fun-loving churches. Jesus promises us much. But His promises always speak to a certain type of person. His words may lift up many, but the healing wrapped up in His words is for those who are willing to shoulder their own cross and step in behind Him. Are we finding it hard to find many who care about Jesus as intensely as we do?
What about Christ? Does He push seeking a comfortable life here on earth? Is He interested in politics, what society values, or even pleasing pastimes? Or does He deliberately turn away from such themes as less important so that He can devote more time and emphasis on God? Rather than getting all excited about the things of the world, He consistently brings the focus to the Lord and where the Lord is moving. This kind of behavior is intolerable for the worldly-minded. This downright rejection of all that the world holds as dear is an affront to anyone who cares about those things. Should we find it strange that turning our attention away from them too, that we will also receive the same reaction? Could we even see where Jesus´ prediction might even be a sign that we truly have shifted our interests? Could the very fact that few will understand our strange and all-consuming love for God confirm for us that we are actually following Him?
Should we note that the people Jesus is talking about that will threaten us will think they are doing God a favor by being at odds with us? The non-believing world will always react harshly against those who choose the Lord over the popular views. This is not a surprise. But can even people within the church build up their religion on something less than bringing souls into contact with God? Can they look to something lower than a close personal relationship? Is this when those who burn for the Presence of God in their lives will find themselves alone? Is this when those who cannot tear their eyes off Jesus will find others wanting to make things difficult for them? Can we see that fewer and fewer people understand our obsession with Christ right now? Are we finding that we have less people by our side that are getting excited about following Jesus as hard as we are trying to? Can we sense the wind blowing in our faces as it blew in the face of our Saviour? Can we hear Jesus saying to us now that He warned us this would happen? Can we hear Him saying that He told us so?
Thank You for trying to warn us of the resistance and separation we will find with those who want something less than being with You. Please help us weather the storm of the world´s distain. Take us by the hand and lead us forward. Where You are is where we want to be. We cannot give our love to the things the world around us cares for. Our love is for You alone. So if we must face difficulties, loss of friends, or opposition, please help us to take heart. You told us this would come if we loved You over the rest. Because You told us so, let this only strengthen our love for You now!