I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do.
John 17:15-16 NLT
Get out or get in? Build a wall or build a bridge? Run away or reach out?
As Jesus prayed for His followers, He asked His Father for assistance, not abandonment. God does not remove us from the problems of existing evil. Instead, He reminds us of His presence when we encounter evil.
He wants us to not just survive . . . but to succeed in a hostile, wicked, non-Christ like system. He has made possible a plan of insulation, not isolation. He desires evangelism, as opposed to escapism. He looks for courage on the front lines, not cowardice behind closed doors.
Our Strategy. We have been given ambassador status in God’s strategy for this life. Paul tells us, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’” (2 Cor 5:20 NLT). With the title, we also have a task. God doesn’t save us to sit on the sideline. The apostle writes, “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him.” (2 Cor 5:18 NLT). Keeping ourselves out of the world, keeps us from reaching those in the world.
Our Strength. In our grappling, God gives grace. In our struggles, God gives strength. When we admit our weakness, He begins to work. Paul reminds us of Christ’s commitment to each of us, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” In response, the apostle confesses, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Cor 12:9 NLT). If we think we can accomplish this task on our own . . . we are mistaken. Doing Kingdom work and having a Kingdom impact is only done by Kingdom power found in the King’s presence.
Our Security. The psalmist describes our survival as living in His shelter under His shadow. He writes, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Ps 91:1 NLT). David continues, “I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” (Ps 91:2 ESV) A “refuge” is a place of rest. A “fortress” is a place of defense. Curiously, the Lord does not provide these things . . . He is these things. This is why our dwelling in Him is essential; it is in Him alone that we will find rest and defense.
God’s promised presence is for those who “dwell”, not depart. To “sit” or “rest” in God states our dependence and secures our deliverance.
In His shelter, we sit under His shadow.
As we reside with Him, we find rest.
In His presence, we find protection, preservation and peace.
He did not save us so we could leave or step away from this world . . . He saved us so we could love and serve those in this world. We don’t belong to the world . . . we bless it.
It’s time to stop running in retreat . . . it’s time to run and reconcile.