(A three-part series on the disciple and the battle)
The New Testament tells us that we are at war! It is clear that every follower of Jesus is engaged in a battle and that battle is on three fronts: the world, the flesh and the devil. This blog will focus on the battle against “the world”.
In John 15-16, Jesus outlines the conflict that will continue to exist between the world and the Church. He explains that his followers will be hated by the world because it first hated him. He goes on to say that if his followers belonged to the world they would be loved by the world! He concludes, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (See John 15:1-16:33).
What is “the world”?
When John speaks about “the world” in this sense, he is referring to a mindset in the people of this fallen and broken world who are opposed to God and His Kingdom. This mindset was formed when Adam and Eve 1st disobeyed God. Everything in this universe was tainted by their bad moral choice. This pervasive morally corrupt mindset fuels – and is fuelled by- sinful human nature and the work of the enemy.
This “worldliness” that is antithetical to God is evident here in Canada in increasingly overt ways. The recent Supreme Court decision against TWU, the increasing marginalizing of religion and the church in public life, the celebration of lifestyles and behaviours that are contrary to biblical standards are only some current manifestations of this worldliness. They are rooted in a mindset that desires to usurp God from his rightful throne and replace him with secular humanism.
There is a call to fight!
This notion of battle has been a theme in the New Testament and in the Church all through the ages. Followers of Jesus in every part of the world and church age have suffered all sorts of persecution, even martyrdom, because they didn’t shy away from the reality of this war. The great news, of course, is that we actually get to win this war! … “I have overcome the world!” … Wherever the gospel has been preached in power and love there has been human flourishing – economically, socially, spiritually, etc.
What the church in Canada needs now more than ever are people who are willing to follow in that long line of disciples who – full of love, faith, perseverance, humility and the power of the Holy Spirit – brought Kingdom transformation to their worlds.
Have you enlisted?
Here are just a few requirements: assurance that the gospel is THE answer the world needs, a habit of conversing with God, an honest heart, righteous living, commitment to a faith community, knowing the Word of God and an ability to find peace in the storm. That’s a start! (See Eph 6:10-18).
Let’s overcome the world!