18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me.
Meditation: What does Jesus mean when he says "you are not of this world"? The "world" in scripture refers to that society of people who are hostile towards God and opposed to his will. The "world" rejected Jesus and his disciples can expect the same treatment. Jesus leaves no middle ground for his followers. We are either for him or against him, for his kingdom of light or for the kingdom of darkness. The prophet Isaiah warned that humans separated from God by sin and spiritual darkness would end up calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). How can we rightly distinguish good from evil? The love of God draws us to all that is lovely, true and good. If we truly love God then we will submit to his truth and will for our lives. A friend of God cannot expect to be a friend of the world. Jesus' demand is unequivocal and without compromise. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). We must make a choice either for or against God. Do you seek to please God in all your thoughts, actions, and relationships? Let the Holy Spirit inflame your heart with the love of God.
"Lord, may the fire of your love inflame my heart with zeal for your
kingdom. And may there be no rivals to keep my from loving your first and
foremost above all else."