This July 4th morning as I sat down with my spiral bound notebook and began to pen out my prayer to the Lord, and wrote to Him my remorse for the way this nation, that He has so blessed with His mercy and grace, has turned her back to His commands, I asked that He would protect us from the evil one. As I penned this out the Spirit stirred in me. He spoke to my heart and brought to my remembrance John 17:14-19...
I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
Here lately one of the Lord’s favorite message to me seems to be Nicole, what are you really asking? Read My Word again. Is that what I promised? What did I really say?
When Jesus prayed for me, and every other person on this planet that would believe in Him and be kept in His name, and He asked the Father to keep us from the evil one what was He asking? Was He praying that we would never know hurt or pain? Was He asking that we would have comfortable healthy lives? Was He praying that Satan would never be able to touch us the way he touched Job? I am sure that is what many of us would like to believe, but I just don’t think that is what Jesus was asking.
The word keep in the Greek is téreó and the use of this word in the context of John 17 is metaphorical and it means, to keep: one in that state in which he is, to keep in i. e. cause one to persevere or stand firm in a thing: by guarding to cause one to escape in safety out of etc, out of the power and assaults of Satan, not to leave, not to throw away, to show oneself to be actually holding a thing fast (Bible Hub).
The word from in the Greek is ek or ex and in the context of John 17 it means any kind of separation or dissolution of connection with a thing or person, released from, set free from, by severing their connection with, etc. to keep one at a distance from etc., by conquest to free oneself from the power of one, to be so lifted up as to dissolve present relations to the earth (Bible Hub).
So when Jesus prayed that His Father would keep us from the evil one, it really wasn’t that we would never know hurt or pain, but that we would not be deceived by him, controlled by him, backed down by him, or identified with him.
In the world… but not of the world.
How can we be in the world, but not of the world? How can we be kept from the evil one if we live in his world? If we look back at Jesus’ prayer He tells us. His prayer to the Father asking Him to keep us from the evil one is sandwiched in between the how we are to be in the world, but not of it.
“I have given them Your word” (John 17:14)
“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17)
There is only one way that we can be kept from the evil one and that is by the Word of God. The Word of God is in opposition to the word of the evil one. In this world we have the One Way and we have the Evil One. The world contains them both…
One is truth and one is lie.
One is love and one is hate.
One is right and one is wrong.
One is life and one is death.
One is light and one is dark.
One is hope and one is despair.
One is faith and one is fear.
One is righteousness and one is relevance.
One is just and one is corrupt.
One is perfect and one is perverse.
One is in the world and one is of it.
So here we all are with two words, two voices, two “ones”… yet only one sanctifies. The other collects and conglomerates.
So as our nation begins to turn further and further away from being defined as “One Nation Under God” the poignance of the prayer of our Savior in John 17 resounds even louder in my soul. Yes, Lord that I would be in this world and not of it.
I must be in this world so that I might be Your Light shining in the darkness… and the greater the darkness the more brightly Your Light in me shall shine. This is not the time to hide my light in a bushel or to be lazy and found sleeping with not enough oil to keep my light burning bright. It is not time to wring my hands and cry woe is me what is our world coming too? Nor is it time for me to rise up in unrighteous indignation and point fingers and call names and take earthly stands.
It’s time to shine. It’s time to show myself sanctified. It’s time to rejoice that I might be considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
Our American church has been so caught up in being “relevant”. In making sure the gospel is “relevant”. Yet, most have completely missed what makes the gospel relevant.
There is only one thing that makes the gospel relevant. Living it. That’s it. That is all that is needed to keep the gospel of Jesus Christ relevant in any day and age. Just live it.
So let us live it.
Let us trust that our Father in Heaven will honor the prayer of His Son and will keep us from the evil one. Let us trust that no matter what suffering we may face because of our sanctification in and by His Word, we can know that He will hold fast to us. Believing that He holds us we will persevere and be able to stand firm knowing that He sets guard about us and will deliver us from the assaults of Satan. Trusting that if for some reason we have stumbled along the way in the fight He will not leave us or throw us away, but He will indeed severe any connection or hold that the evil one attempts to get on us by supplying us with the power needed to be set free.
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth