“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:19, word of Jesus)
Jesus and the disciples had just shared in the Passover meal. He is giving them a long list of instructions, preparing them for the time when He will leave this earth. In this particular passage, Jesus is preparing his disciples to be His witnesses and share the good news. But with that, He warns, as a follower of Christ in this fallen world, the disciples will encounter hatred. Why? Because people of the world do not know the true God and His moral absolutes. Instead, they make up their own gods, and their own relative moral standards. Therefore, misunderstanding and hostility on this earth are inevitable.
Now, more than ever, I see a world of compromised values and standards. I am living in a culture that tells me to live for myself and my own agenda. But that is not what I am called to do. God has called me to live for Him and His purpose, without compromise. God has called me to be bold for Him! If the world thinks I am wonderful, then I need to take a hard look at myself and the boldness of my faith. If I am surrounding myself with other like-minded Christians, being bold is easy. However, I need to look for opportunities to be in contact with the world. I am not of the world, but I am in the world, and while I am here on this earth, I am called to testify the truth of Jesus Christ.
”Lord, I pray for alertness. Send me and show me opportunities where I can be bold. When those opportunities arise, allow your words to flow from my lips, and give the recipient the ears to hear your truth. If I am met with persecution, Father, remind me that you were persecuted too. Do not allow me to get discouraged, but teach me to ‘Rejoice and be glad, because great is my reward in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:12) Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.