“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”-John 17:15-16
God places us right where he wants us, in a world of goodness and evil, beauty and corruption. He invites us to follow him, not out of the world, but into it. Jesus prayed that we would be kept from the evil one. We are surrounded by temptations—temptations to sin, temptations to hide, and temptations to run away from it all. Yet the essence of Jesus’s prayer is, “Grant my brothers and sisters the strength of mind and peace of heart to remain stalwart in the face of temptations, just as I stood strong in temptation.” Paired risks confront us every day. On the one hand, we can live for the world, pursuing self-centered pleasures. On the other hand, we can retreat into the safety of our churches, afraid of the world’s influence. Jesus neither hid from temptation, nor surrendered to it.
Jesus, I am aware of my tendency to live in step with the brokenness in the world, yet I also acknowledge that I can surround myself only with like-minded people, judging anyone who is different. Remind me that you have filled me with an incorruptible light, so that I might live as a beacon of your goodness. Amen.