Sorry, this might get a bit preachy, but I just wanted to share a tidbit of my time with God today.
As a part of my women's bible study we are going through the book Becoming a Woman of Prayer. I fundamentally disagree with a few things in this text, but for the most part it's a wonderful delve into what it means to be a woman of prayer (totally could be a man of prayer as well).
One of the scriptures it recommended for intercessory prayer (praying for others) was John 17, as Jesus prays for the himself, for his disciples, and for the world. It's here if you want to read it.
It's lovely, truly, but something else stood out for me. It's when Jesus is praying an intercessory prayer for his disciples.
"13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth."
A few years ago, I heard about a woman who lived in inner city Detroit and was working with an orphanage that was affiliated with a very poor and urban church. Every day she would hear gun shots, she would barricade her door, should someone try to force entry, and she often didn't sleep due to the noise of the streets and the neighborhood surrounding her. I thought to myself at the time, how can this woman maintain her faith amidst the darkest, and most brutal parts of the city? How can she continue to witness of Christ's love and mercy for his people when all she saw was hurt, destruction, and violence?
This scripture, almost 6 years later, has answered my questions.
These verses are a message to us, that the Lord wishes the greatest good for us. Often as Christians we hear things about leaving the destruction of the earthly world, and to escape and barricade ourselves away from the evil and sin that surrounds us daily. I've heard people tell me to escape from the World and surround yourself only with God's children, should you be tempted by sin. This has some truth to it. But this leaves the world without light, without hope, and without truth. I believe this is Jesus' desire - that we be immersed in the world and that God gives us the strength each day to be his Children and his disciples in the dark world. Because he is in us and that means we are not of this world, just as Jesus spoke of his disciples. HOW AWESOME.
Jesus prays that his disciples not be contaminated by the world, and that they be sanctified by the truth, which is the Word. How powerful is it that Jesus has so much faith in his disciples that he likens them to him? Now, how powerful is it that Jesus has that same faith in each of us?
A few scriptures that came to mind as I was sorting through this:
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the Good.
Psalms 121:8 The Lord will guard your going out and our coming in, from this time forth and forever.
I hope this is applicable to your life, as much as it was for mine.
M3 at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine