In the World (12/3)

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John 17, 1 John 2:15-17

Jesus did not pray that we would be taken out of the World or that we would not have trouble; in fact we are warned about having trouble in this world as we are not part of it as citizens of the Kingdom!

In Luke we read about what Jesus said to Peter and the other Disciples: Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (22:31-32).

That “you is plural,” the NIV translates vs. 31 like this Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. Other translations: “each of you”…

It is that sifting that God uses to build your faith, it is through the trials and tribulations of the World that character is formed, that the old life and its perspectives are replaced with new as we follow Jesus. And it is in the world that we as believers grow in faith as God weeds out the former habits and wrong attitudes we had in our former lives.

How we react to the sifting, to the troubles the World throws at us, is up to each of us, we can quit the battle and surrender to the flow and let the world carry us or we can continue to battle and preserver with and by the Grace of God.

The enemy of our souls is demanding to sift us and God is using that sifting for our Good as we love Him (Romans 8:28-29). Life comes at you hard -the world is out to get you, but believers, like the disciples, have been prayed for by Jesus! As we seek after God in His Word, through our troubles, we are sanctified and strengthened and kept from the evil one. Vs. 17 – set them apart from world

God tells us in Isaiah 54:17 that no weapon that is formed against us can succeed no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.

So either we trust God and look to Him through our troubles or we don’t…

Jesus said in John 12:26If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, My servant will be as well. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

All we have to do is outlast the trouble, Remember quitting is a final solution to a temporary problem and Jesus prayed for us, for you, for me, for all who would put into practice the knowledge and will of God, (believers) to be kept from the evil one. This is our heritage as servants of the Lord!

He didn’t pray that we would be removed from the tribulations we face, but that we would be protected (kept) in the midst of them. That prayer is basically saying that we not throw in the towel, lose heart, or give in, that we don’t drug ourselves to escape the pain, shirk our responsibilities as parents or as spouses, end our marriages,  or tell the boss to take this Job and … well you know the song. We should not be surprised at our tribulations/troubles. See 1 Peter.

Sifting will happen, but God will be there in the midst of it and if you believe, trusting God and loving Him with your all your heart, mind, soul and strength and persevering, then He will see you through.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  – James 1:3-4

The Holy Spirit tells us in 2 Corinthians 4 that our light momentary afflictions are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (4:17-18).

The things that we go through are preparing us for Heaven by making us Christ like as we walk in obedience to His Word, yes it is easier to run, easier to give up, easier to give in to the sufferings we go through, but that will not strengthen our faith, our trust, or our devotion to God. Giving in to the troubles and temptations we face will make us weaker and worldly. As God told Cain, If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7).

We bring glory to God by remaining faithful through the tribulations, by responding in love, understanding, and patience and by not reacting in panic, fear, or worry… “If you can worry you can pray.” Jesus did…

Can you imagine, leaving this world in the hands of 11 young men, some of whom were brash, some doubtful, most of whom were uneducated, who argued, and bickered whose backgrounds were soiled and uneducated and who would soon desert you and deny even knowing you? Yet they turned the world upside down by being obedient to The Word. They took the next step! They waited in Jerusalem… they went into all the World… they devoted themselves… To what; the world or to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom? (See 1 John) another way.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17

Further Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-7, Psalm 66:8-12

On Perseverance: James 1:2-4, 12, 2 Corinthians 4:7-18, Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 25-29, 3:5-6, 11-13, 21-22 

Digging Deeper:

Who are those that love the Lord? (see John 14:15, 21, 23, 15:10, 1 John 2:3-6, 5:1-5, 2 John 1:6, see also John 14:31.

What are you trusting God to do in the midst of your tribulations?  

How are you trusting God in your tribulations?

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