Today's Devotional

Our Place in Society (21 November)

I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me. . . . I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those you gave me, for they belong to you. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine; and my glory is shown through them. And now I am coming to you; I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one just as you and I are one . . . I gave them your message, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One. Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world.
John 17:6, 9-11, 14-16

Almost every day I find myself in some kind of identity crisis. I love my nation and identify with them. I make a point of being part of the society that surrounds me. It is important to me to be connected, to know how people feel . . . and to be a light in the world. But not only do I want to reach out to my people and to have an influence on them, I simply want to be one of them.

Even so, as time passes, I discover that when all is said and done the ones I really identify with are the believers, the church. I continue to go through Scripture to find some basis for the claim that we should be just one of the nation, but without success. Even though I want to identify completely with my people-out of love for them-my nation, my people are my family in the church. The Scriptures draw a thin but essential line: we are part of the nation, we were sent to them, we love them, and we are to bear fruit among them and help them. But the ones we really identify with are the believers, those who are in Jesus and he in them; and we are in God as Jesus is in him.

If we have no contact with society, don't love society, or disregard society, then we have departed from Jesus' word. God does not call us to assimilate into society, but he does want us to be involved. He calls us to love people. And when I am there, God promises to protect me.

God, give me wisdom, grace, and power. Grant me favor with my people. Not as I will, but as you will. I pray that you use me to glorify your name. I pray also for the church. I thank you for the family of believers, for friends and colleagues. Help me to find my place in your church and in society.


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