I Give Up: “Loving the World” – James 4:4, Romans 12:2
Do you know the Lords prayer? Or could it be that you only think that you do? What we know of as the Lords prayer is one of the shortest recorded prayers that Jesus prayed. John chapter 17 is an entire chapter of the Bible devoted to Jesus praying. In that chapter Jesus talks about you. Yes. Jesus prayed for you specifically.
He said in John 17:9, “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those that you have given me, for they are yours.” He goes further in verse 11: “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
Jesus prayed for your protection 2000 years ago! I hope that you are encouraged by that. He knew there were things that we’d need to be protected from, and one of those things would be the very world we live in!
In verse 14 Jesus says this: “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.” Have you ever felt like your life is counter-cultural? Does it seem that not everyone gets where you are coming from because you are trying to live a Christian life? That is exactly what Jesus is talking about here. Jesus already knew that the more we would follow him, the more we would actually be hated in the world.
Jesus went on, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” Jesus knew that one of the schemes of the evil one would be to entangle you in the world.
This same concept surfaces in one of the parables that Jesus explains in Matthew chapter 13:
20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Do the worries of this life ever seem suffocating? In America, we often pursue wealth ahead of following Jesus. Giving up the world may also mean giving up your focus on wealth and material things.
Questions to Consider:
1.Where in life do I feel (or have I felt) rejected by the world as I seek to follow Christ?
2.What practical disciplines do I need to implement to join in Jesus’ prayer for God to protect me from the schemes of the evil one?
3.What worries in my life am I allowing to “choke the word, making it unfruitful”?
4.What steps can I take toward “giving up” loving the world and all its worries?
Make a list from the questions above and share with a Christian friend, small group, counselor, or pastor for additional insight, support, and accountability.