April 6, 2020
All DayCategory: Lenten Devotional
A New (and Difficult) Citizenship
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it” (John 17:14-16).
When we identify with Jesus as God’s Word, our status changes from being people of the world to people of the Word, citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). This makes us strange and foreign and often hated by the world’s citizens. We are in the world, but not of the world. Jesus protects us not from every difficulty that this citizenship involves, but from the attempts of the “evil one” to steal our joy and to stop sanctification.
Jesus’ prayer specifically asks the Father to protect us, as he knows our journey as God’s people, will be difficult and full of hardship. Yet we need to persevere in this world to accomplish God’s purpose for us by bearing fruit (John 15:8). We, as disciples of Jesus, know God, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent (John 17:3). It is reassuring to know that God protects us, especially in times of difficulty when evil causes us to drift away.
My journey as a child of God has always been a blessing to me. It has allowed me to better understand Jesus’ message and how our human perspectives can differ. We, as God’s people, often seem strange and foreign to people of the world. People of the world, on the other hand, often feel judged by God’s people. Differences often lead to misunderstandings and, in some cases, can lead to hatred. We may get into a situation of feeling discouraged and evil may lead us away from God. Knowing that we have God’s protection and having empathy towards one another can help bridge differences and instill love, not hatred.
At my baptism, my pastor reminded me that baptism marks only the beginning of a long spiritual journey, which will not be easy, but with God’s love and protection, we should persevere to fulfil God’s mission and remain joyful with peace in our hearts.