“During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.
“Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 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. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.” (John 17:12-19)
The world hates Christians because Christians’ values differ from those of the world. Because Christ’s followers don’t cooperate with the world by joining in their sin, they are living accusations against the world’s immorality. The world follows Satan’s agenda, and Satan is the avowed enemy of Jesus and his people.
Jesus didn’t ask God to take believers out of the world but instead to use them in the world. Because Jesus sends us into the world, we should not try to escape from the world, nor should we avoid all relationships with non-Christians. We are called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), and we are to do the work that God sent us to do.
A follower of Christ becomes set apart through believing and obeying the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). He or she has already accepted forgiveness through Christ’s sacrificial death (Hebrews 7:26-27). But daily application of God’s Word has a purifying effect on our minds and hearts. Scripture points out sin, motivates us to confess, renews our relationship with Christ, and guides us back to the right path.
Jesus prayed, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth” (John 17:17). You can pray that prayer for yourself or someone else. In what ways has God already revealed his truth through his Word? How has his Word helped shape your priorities and purpose?