There are times when we as Christians allow the comfortable world we live in to peel back the radical chainmail that the Christian life demands that we wear. Much of our Biblical example involves a persecuted people yet we are not in such a dire situation today and tend to become smug in the comfort of our communities. When Jesus sent out the twelve, he told them explicitly that they will be hated by all (Matt. 10:22). Why? “….because of me.” He told them, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). He explained further that if they belonged to the world then it would love them as their own; however, the reason the world will hate them is because they do not belong to it (v.19). All believers who desire to live a godly life will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12), as the flesh is hostile to God (Rom. 8:7).
We all are susceptible to desiring the approval of the world. When put in a situation where a bold stand for Christ presents itself in our commonplace conversations, we sometimes desire to shirk on the matter rather than presenting the truth. A few days ago a co-worker had asked me for ways she could be more productive in her daily planning/duties. This was not the first time we talked about this but it just so happened that I was reading a book about how the Gospel transforms how we get things done. I was only a couple chapters in but I felt comfortable enough to quote some parts that she may find helpful. However, for sake of time and it being the end of the day, I excluded the Gospel aspect of the book that tied it all together and shared some of the author’s “neutral” conclusions. What I received then was immediate criticism from her, stating that these were the silliest ideas that she had ever heard and that the author’s intentions must be solely of the money making kind. I realized then that what I had quoted for her demanded an explanation, and that explanation was how the Gospel made what I had presented to her possible.
Point of this story: The power of God is found in the Gospel (Romans 1:16), not in my worldly advice or desire for acceptance. The Gospel is offensive, but it is the means of salvation to everyone who believes. It sets those who are slaves to sin free. It continues to be the good news regardless of how it is received or how we may “look” to the world. Though we are in it, we are not of the world and should live in such a way that this is obvious to others. When we give the “world” this offensive message, remember that it is through this offensive message that one arrives at the doorstep of eternal peace with God.