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. ~~ John 17:14-15 (NIV)
Moving to the city has its advantages and disadvantages. Even my twelve-year-old son recognized differences from the small town environment and the city. The other day he said, "There is a lot more to do in the city and a lot more choices, but it takes a lot longer to get there."
The other day I headed to the Lifeway Christian Book store. I came up to a corner where panhandlers normally work. At the stop light I saw a gentleman simply handing out postcards with information on it. As he approached my vehicle, I lowered the window just a bit. He slid the card through the window and I was appalled to see a perfectly airbrushed woman on the high-gloss card.
He asked, "You don’t?"
"No, I don’t. Take it and go on."
Stunned. I couldn’t believe what just happened.
Throughout the city, gentleman's clubs dot most of the major the streets. The card the man wanted to hand me advertised the club just down the street from the Christian book store. Definitely something we did not see in a small town.
I asked the Lord, "How do I deal with this difference?" Immediately the thought of Daniel popped into my mind. Daniel, a young man in his youth when Jerusalem was taken captive by Babylon. He learned to live in a pagan culture without conforming to it.
We must be able to live where the Lord placed us without conforming to the world. It doesn’t take a seminary degree to see the sinful nature around in our communities. But Jesus has us here to be a light to the world living in darkness.
It is comforting to know that Jesus prayed for us. He knew that the world would hate us. But he didn’t pray that we be taken out of this world as soon as we accept Him as Savior. No, he prayed that we be protected from the evil one.
We're here in this world for the time God appointed for us. We do not have to conform to the world; we're to be a light while we are in this world.