Finding the Courage to Be Different. John 15:18-19

John 15:18-19 The Message

Hated by the World

18-19 “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

A Hated People

John 15:18 Amplified Bible

Disciples’ Relation to the World

18 “If the world hates you [and it does], know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

This may be one of Jesus’ hardest teachings—especially if anyone of us tends to prefer being a people pleaser.

Jesus wants us to understand that his followers will sometimes be at odds with the values of the world.

As a result, there will be times when we pay a relational price for following him.

But will we be hated?

Disliked? Probably.

Misunder­stood? Sure.

But hated? That sounds pretty extreme.

Well, hatred is a pretty extreme and polarizing emotion.

Hatred is a high energy radically divisive way of immediately shutting down the course of events of that moment – say the words “I hate you” and life just stops.

Yet Jesus deliberately chooses this strong language here for a reason.

And Jesus knew that it absolutely had to be said and Jesus knew his disciples had to be prepared to receive the hatred – even to the point of their death on a cross.

Putting God first in our life will absolutely create friction—being different from everyone around you — well, guess what? it’s going to be a significant threat to people and unto world systems which have a deep and vested interest in their own selfish ambitions and much preferred ways of doing “their own” things.

Jesus invited people into the kingdom of God, to hate the world, and this will result in his arrest, public humiliation and his suffering and death on a cross.

Why? Because his teachings represented a threat to the religious leadership.

Following Jesus meant great personal sacrifice, having less power, status, and attention, so their response was to get rid of the competition and protect their own interests (see John 11:48 Amplified).

48 If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our [holy] place (the temple) and our nation.”

Since we read in Scripture this is how Jesus was treated, should we be surprised to encounter such a hardship in our own lives because of our faith in him? No.

Yet, in spite of resistance in this world, God remains faithful to his people.

Through the Holy Spirit, we can be emboldened, empowered and inspired and refreshed to continue the most challenging of Kingdom work God calls us to do.

And in community we can find the prayer and support to keep following Jesus, no matter what it costs us.

John 17:6-12 Amplified Bible

“I have manifested Your name [and revealed Your very self, Your real self] to the people whom You have given Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept and obeyed Your word. Now [at last] they know [with confident assurance] that all You have given Me is from You [it is really and truly Yours]. For the words which You gave Me I have given them; and they received and accepted them and truly understood [with confident assurance] that I came from You [from Your presence], and they believed  [without any doubt] that You sent Me. I pray for them; I do not pray for the world, but for those You have given Me, because they belong to You; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and [all things that are] Yours are Mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 I am no longer in the world; yet they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are. 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and protected them, and not one of them was lost except [a]the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

With the power and strength of Such deep Prayerful Support – what becomes possible?


John 15:19 Amplified Bible

19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love [you as] its own and would treat you with affection. But you are not of the world [you no longer belong to it], but I have chosen you out of the world. And because of this the world hates you.

Against the Grain

My father who grew up in the Depression era and was a combat veteran of the Korean Conflict, used to say the times have changed, a sentiment I now echo.

A child of the sixties and seventies, the world looked so very different during my own childhood; some resulted from my idyllic imaginings, and some from a much darker more brutal and bullied reality now most thankfully long past.

Today, the world, especially whether it is my country, or most anyone else’s country, looks darker, uncertain, bullied, terrorized and war-like and divided.

My Judeo-Christian faith now shines brighter than ever, and too many days I have never felt so alone, misunderstood and out of place. 

Born and baptized a Christian, My family and I grew up Jewish when being Christian was much more in fashion, even ubiquitous.

Kids pretended to be Christian even when they weren’t.

I do not guess that is as true now as it was then – Not anymore.

It was the sixties and seventies – Haight Ashbury, the Vietnam War, Protests, Anti War Sentiments and campus riots were 5 minutes from my parents home.

There was the iconic transformative Woodstock on a farm in Bethel New York.

There was the Watergate Scandal and a US President was compelled to Resign.

This was our era – which we and my family lived, grew up in, were shaped by.

Each era seems to have its own iconic mind-bending, setting, transformative events which served to change the thinking of those who were born and raised.  

Nowadays, many people hide their faith for fear of being offensive.

There seem to be fewer open prayers when out in public and less mention of God in school. 

The challenges are mind bending, mind setting, controversial, transformative, divisive, politically high charged: Abortion. Homosexuality. Race. Transgender.

Violence, school shootings, walk into a church or any other place and spray bullets and bombs all over, among many other things which could easily take their place in bending, breaking, shaping, transforming billions of minds.

Uttering an unpopular opinion or a fact that goes against the grain is far more consequential than just merely taboo.

So for those of us seeking to stand firm in the faith, our absolute belief in God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, what exactly are we left to do?

Finding the courage to be different today comes with consequences like job loss, public ostracization with threats of physical violence, legal repercussions, fines, and maybe at some point, death. 

From those first century days, it is not too far fetched to believe or wonder if it’s not significantly more counter-cultural to be that faithful, faith-filled, hopeful hope-filled, publicly prayerful, publicly praying Christian in today’s society.

The question is, do we have even the the minimal courage to be max different?

Intersecting Faith and Life:

The world hated Jesus.

There should be no surprise when we receive the same treatment.

If you are a Christian who finds yourself in harmony with the world, that’s an indication to rethink your faith.

We are called live differently, like Christ. 

He didn’t have an easy life.

Why would we? 

Why should we?

Christ told His disciples there would be suffering in the world.

Yet, despite suffering, through Him, they could find peace.

Through Him, they found the strength needed to live out their faith.

That same peace and strength are available to us today. 

We’ll need it if we are to be different.

Different in the Way We Talk

Scripture prescribes a certain way to communicate.

Our words are supposed to build another up, those in the faith and outside.

That doesn’t mean every word spoken from our mouths is soft and gentle, but that also doesn’t mean our words should be extremely harsh and ultra divisive.

Where the world seeks to offend, we should make peace.

Where the world stresses peace, we should boldly speak the truth of the Gospel of our Lord, Savior Jesus Christ in “tough” love to people who need to hear it.

Different in the Way We Walk

Modern society glorifies the value of an individual’s happiness, priorities, needs, and wants. Our faith prioritizes the values of God.

We recognize we are not the center of the universe, which causes us to value getting married and starting families.

We value impartially serving others as opposed to serving ourselves. (James 2:1-13)

We value children in and outside of the womb. (Psalm 139:13-18)

Different in How We Think

Our primary motivations as Christians should be to love God and, secondly, to love our neighbors as much or as little as God commands us to love ourselves.

These are the greatest commandments.

Society commands the love of self.

If we aren’t happy, the culture encourages us to change our circumstances through divorce, jobs, etc.

Scripture helps us understand happiness is not just transitory but something we are not entitled to for simply existing.

God blesses us with good, but He also blesses us, allows for the bad and even the catastrophic and for very good reasons!

Different in What We Believe

Those in the world reject God when they can’t see the evidence but are quick to believe science without viewing the evidence – the methodology, the variables, the data, etcetera.

Knowing ‘the science’ proves something is enough for some people.

As Christians, we believe science helps us understand the natural world, but we also recognize there is also a supernatural one.

God allows us to see where conventional insight fails or deceives. 

Being different is a challenge today, but walking with God was never meant to be easy.

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are proof. 

Proverbs 29:18Amplified Bible

Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained;
But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].

Choosing courage over comfort means embracing the unknown.

It pushes you to new experiences and makes you open and accommodating when you are tired of working for world instead of working for Savior Jesus.

Serving as Jesus did? It requires courage and confidence to do what your mind would otherwise assume and ignore because it anticipates failure or challenges.

Comfort will keep you back from pursuing your goals, fulfilling your dreams, and living up to your potential.

Courage, on the other hand, gives us prophetic vision (Proverbs 29:18) to see what others cannot see, to pursue what others would not dare to go after.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God Almighty, God my Father, I come before you now with a fresh anointing of your Gospel from John 15:18-19, with a plea and a prayer for courage. Please be with me on these dark and challenging days. No matter how alone I may feel, remind me you are my ever-present company. Whatever obstacles I face and my mindset faces, help me to live out the faith consistently and constantly. When the world seeks hate me as it hated your Son Jesus, seeks to deceive and sell me on falsehoods as Satan did your Son, direct me again towards truth. Please direct me to you. Being different is hard and scary, and some days God, I wonder what life would be like to be of the world. But I want to remain steadfast. I wish to remain with you. So, Lord, please give me the courage to be different, especially when I need it the most. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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