May 7, 2015
1 John 4:4-6
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
What in the world is “the world?” Is it the planet? Is it Las Vegas? Is it riches and fame? Is it a group of people? Is it the Devil? Is it the mall? Is it the ghetto in the inner city? Or is the world the opulent wealth of the suburbs? Is it R rated movies?
Is the world a bad place? Or is the world the same place that John speaks of when he said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
What in the world is the world and where is it?
I think I have always thought I knew, but now that I ask the question I am not so sure.
Though it be filled with evil, the world cannot be a bad place. I think the issue isn’t so much “the world” as it is the one who is in the world. The world, to be sure, is a fallen place. Because of the one who is in the world, the world lives in the throes of a conspiracy of corruption. The world is love turned into lust. It is beauty reduced to brokenness. The world is home turned into hell. The world is the created supplanting the place of the Creator. The world is the truth exchanged for a lie.
There’s a common myth among many Christians that has persisted through the ages to the present day. The myth is that world is not our home; that we can somehow escape the world or at least boycott it.
But think about it, Jesus didn’t teach us to pray, “Thy will be done, somewhere other than here, as it is in heaven.” No! It’s on earth, right here, in the world, as it is in heaven.
The big problem is not that we are in the world. The problem is the world is in us. That’s why today’s text is such good news.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. The kingdom comes when this reality is given birth right square in the middle of the real world.
Because of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit we can live in the world without the world living in us. I like the way Peter puts it:
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:4-5.
We can’t escape the world, but we can escape the corruption that is in the world. The secret is the One who is in us.
So how about it? Do you have the “viewpoint” of the world or are is your vision fixed on Jesus?
J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.