“…in it, not of it…”

18 If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? “A slave is not greater than the master.” Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.  (John 15: 18-22, NLT)

It really is simple.  The world is rejecting God more and more, and as such, those who love and follow Christ will also be rejected and hated.  We have to stop trying to please others.  Love them, yes, but we can’t change not even one syllable of God’s word to suit the whims of this world.  Jesus gave his life to free us from the bondages of sin and death, but He made it very clear that when we do choose Him, we also choose to be separated from the world.  There isn’t a gray area where we can hover between the two.  It’s hot or cold, friends.  We’re either in or we’re out.  Pick a side.  You may not like that, but it is reality.

I tend to be a people pleaser.  I want everyone to be at peace with one another.  I don’t like to make waves, and I prefer to avoid confrontations as much as I possibly can.  And though I do have a deep desire to be loved and accepted, there is this part of me that is okay with being different and set apart.  I like to be myself, and I am comforted by relationships with people who take the time to know and love me as I am.

I share that to make the point that we all (myself included) make adjustments in order to have a sense of peace in our lives, but where do we draw that line?  How much are we truly willing to compromise?  The time is coming when we will have to answer these questions.

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.  (2 Corinthians 5:6-10, NLT)

Our lives are but timelines filled with checkpoints and choices.  We may not see the beginning and end points, but those points are there.  Everything in between is choice, but that end point is where we will find ourselves standing in front of Christ.  Are you willing to look at Him and say that His blood was not good enough for you to choose Him?

Friends, life is a battle.  We are fighting daily, and we can be the victors, but we have to stop compromising.  Turn away from the evil of this world, and say proudly why.  There is power in the name of Jesus.  When we speak it, when we love Him without regret or shame, we are victorious.  And the reward of that earthly victory is a heavenly prize unlike any other.

21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3: 21, NLT)

Prayer:  Jesus, I recognize that I need You in my life.  I love You, Lord, and it is truly my desire to follow you and to share Your love by my words and actions.  Thank You for your blood.  May I live in such a way that I am never ashamed of You.  Amen.

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