The fire of life is a consuming agent meant to cleanse and strengthen. It sure does not feel like it when you are in it.
Oh, trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce, Or a trouble is what you make it. And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts, But only how did you take it. Edmund Vance Cooke
A good friend and mentor reminded me this morning that when God is prepping us for good things, the enemy launches defensive attack to stop us. Jesus knew this in the garden and prayed for us. In my struggle to stay on top of issues instead of buried by them, I needed that loving reminder. Maybe it can encourage you also.
When Jesus prayed for us in His last recorded prayer before his execution on the cross, He prayed ‘a full measure of joy’ along with a commission to live in this world “as it is not as we would have it” (Serenity Prayer – Niehbur).
He let us know that the systems of the world will hate us. How true is that today? Education, government, politics, arts, even benevolence would like to crush the heart of a believer in Christ. Even knowing that it is only the presence of that heart of genuine compassion birthed in Christ that is the eternal engine of dignity and hope in the very world that rejects Him.
It is the heart of real Christianity that sees there is neither male nor female nor black nor white nor EU nor USA in God’s family. There are just people for whom He died and lives and unites. It is the real heart of Christians that treats all with dignity even in disagreement. And it is that heart that is hated because it convicts and convinces of mistaken living and imperfect obdience.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 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. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
John 17:13-19 NIV
When you read this prayer, pray it over yourself and your leaders. Pray in agreement with Jesus.
Father, I agree with Christ as He stands in front of You on my behalf right now. Fill us with the full measure of His joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. The joy that shines bright in the middle of a lost and distorted generation filled with violence and greed and self fulfillment.
Your word is a lamp to us, a light to our path in the dark. We are hated for living Your word and heart. Days can be cold. Never let our hearts get cold to reach out with hope and life in Jesus. No matter the rejection, the lack of gratefulness or persecution, never let us be bitter or cold.
We are not of the world any more than Jesus is of the world. My prayer is not that you take us out of the world but that you protect us from the evil one. Sanctify us by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent Jesus into the world, you have sent us into the world. We accept and acknowledge our selection and calling as hard as it may be. For us Jesus sanctified Himself, that we too may be truly sanctified, equipped, and set out for this special task each and every day.