Do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you
1 John 3:13. New American Standard Bible
13 Do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
John tells us to not be surprised if the world hates us. The call to follow Christ is a call to move out of the world and into an intimate relationship with the Living God. The Lord tells us that we are in the world, but we are not of the world (John 15:19).
When John speaks of the world in this context, he is writing about those who have rejected Jesus Christ and live in darkness. Those who live in darkness and have not come to the truth find the lifestyle of the Christian very foreign and very irritating.
In our world and culture today, there are many who believe the bible is foolishness and a book of fairy tales. They often use the name of Jesus as a curse word and think it foolish to live one’s life for a so-called God. But this is exactly why Christ calls us to be holy and to be set a part. We are called to live in such a way that our lives cause unbelievers to question why. Why are we able to love sacrificially and selfishly? Why are we able to forgive and generously give of our lives to those who may even despise and hate us? How are we able to have hope in a time of great darkness?
When John wrote these words the believers of his day lived under the rule and reign of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was cruel, and society was steeped in darkness and paganism. Those who were coming to Christ out of paganism previously had lived lives steeped in wickedness. But in coming to Christ they were set free from the chains and bondages of darkness and the light and glory of Christ was produced in them.
Not much has changed from that time. Today we look at our day and our culture and we are often surprised by the wickedness and darkness of our day. But wickedness and darkness has always been present upon the earth since the fall of Adam and Eve. It is escalating in our day because we continually move toward the return of Jesus Christ. Satan knows his time is short and he is hell bent to conquer the world and stand against the purposes of God.
But the truth is Satan is a fool. He is blinded by pride and arrogance. God only allows him to see and do what is according to God’s sovereign plan. There is nothing Satan can do that God doesn’t allow. We may not understand all that God allows Satan to do, but this is why God calls us to trust Him and this is why we can have hope in the midst of incredible darkness. Because God and God alone is in control.
John tells us not to be surprised. Being hated for living for Christ is simply the reality of serving Jesus. The thing we need to worry about is if we are loved and embraced by the world. There are many so called celebrity pastors who are loved by the world. We need to truly examine what is being said and done before we go building our lives on the so-called truth they are proclaiming.
Today we must build our lives on the truth. If that means we are called to suffer or even lay down our lives for Christ, it does not compare to His coming glory. Today He prepares a bride who is set apart and ready. May we be the people who God has called us to be.