Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
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Seeds of the Kingdom

In the World but Not of It

by Dotty Cockcroft

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. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
John 17:14-16, NIV

I try to do my bit as a responsible citizen by recycling and reusing what I can to protect the resources we have been given. So, I often put used sheets of paper in my printer and use the blank side. It works fine most of the time, that is if you remember which way up you need to put it into the printer! The other day I must have put the already used paper in the wrong way up, because, when I printed some notes, they came out on the already printed side of the paper. Interestingly, though, the lines of the new document had printed between the lines of the previous one. My husband assumed I would throw them out and start again, but actually I could read them quite well, with a bit of concentration.

This episode made me think of today’s text which says that we Christians do not belong in the world any longer, although we still have to live in it. I may have thought that being a Christian in the world was like living on a desert island somewhere in the world, or maybe in a safe bubble, but it is not like that at all. We are right there in the midst of it all, rubbing shoulders with the world, trying to proclaim in our lives the truth of the Kingdom to which we belong.

All around us there is another narrative, shouting loudly, trying to drown out or blot out our proclamation. It can be hard living in that place at times, and we can feel that we are in a minority, even that we are crushed, squashed, and silenced by the world. Surely it would just be easier to remove us to an island, or at least a bubble! It would be like printing on a nice clean sheet of paper, wouldn’t it?

My text today comes from a prayer that Jesus Himself prayed to His Father, and in it He specifically asks that we are not removed from the world, but that Father God will protect us in it. We can rest assured, then, that we have protection, and that Jesus has a purpose for us in the world, just as He had a purpose here.

It occurred to me also that there are lots of pieces of advice (sometimes commands) in the Bible of how we can avail ourselves of the protection that is available. For example, we are told to make sure that we meet together in fellowship to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25). We are also told to fix our eyes upon Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). I had to fix my eyes on the correct narrative on my printed notes!

Why not challenge yourself to make a note of all the things you find in your Bible reading over the next week or two which are ways to avail yourself of God’s protection?

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that You have already asked the Father to protect us whilst we live in the world where we no longer belong. Help me to see the protection You have provided for me. Thank You that I belong in Your Kingdom. Amen.

Dotty Cockcroft is on the associate ministry and teaching teams at Glyndley Manor where she has been involved for about 20 years. She is married with 3 grown up children and 3 gorgeous grandchildren and works as a Practice Nurse. She passionately believes God wants us to move into His healing and wholeness.

 

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