“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.” Does the world love us? Or do we go against the current, refuse to accept the world's values, and find resistance and maybe even rejection from those around us?
We are like ships: we can be safe at anchor, not going anywhere in particular, comfortable and exerting no energy at all. In that case we would not call attention to ourselves, barely cause a ripple, certainly make no waves. This directionless, irreflective letting go is the way of the world and is based on the values that cause us to be little more than consumers: overweight, couch potatoes, and great believers in what the media offer us in news, opinion, entertainment, and advertising.
We can also use our own little efforts in rowing our own little boat, self-directed and independent and expending a great deal of energy but making little progress. This self-dependence refuses to admit that anyone else can or should offer us direction, help, or even love. We can get to be mighty lonely this way, but we feel secure because We Are Right!
Or we can put ourselves fully in the hands of the Spirit: we would then need to do little more than to spread our sails, to keep watch, to man the wheel, and occasionally to trim our sails to fit the developing direction that the breath of the Spirit is urging us in. We would advance fairly easily and silently, almost mysteriously, but we would expend comparatively little energy and leave a noticeable wake.
In such a case the world would not love us because it would understand neither what we were doing nor how we were doing it. The world asks us to not make waves, to not go against what everyone else thinks and believes and does; the world demands that we conform, and if we do not we are scorned and rejected. The world having no more grasp on us than it did on Jesus (John 1:5; 10:39; 14:30), we would then find Jesus speaking directly and affectionately to our hearts in this Gospel passage.
If the world does love us or even if it just ignores us, we might consider that maybe we are not following Jesus as well as we might. As those who believe in the Risen Lord and the life that He is calling us to beyond this world, we Christians need to stand out and to show the world what it means to live in this world but not of it, to show what being loved by the Lord means for our loving other people in a way that has little to do with what the world values.
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