ODJ: Contradicting Cultures

December 27, 2018 

READ: John 17:1-26 

They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth (vv.16-17).

Most of us are familiar with various social media platforms, but one social media app allows complete strangers to rate your personal profile. A colleague told me how friends of his were heartbroken by the hurt their younger daughter experienced through receiving a bad rating.

A study by the Royal Society for Public Health, researching the impact of social media on the mental health of young people in the UK, suggested that “social media may be fuelling a mental health crisis”. As with most things, social media can be used as a tool for good, but we need wisdom in navigating its potential pitfalls.

In the final hours before His death, Jesus prayed for His followers’ protection from the negative influences of this world (John 17:1-26). He wanted us to grow in our understanding of God as Father, to be fully satisfied in Him and filled with His joy (v.13). Although we don’t belong to the evil forces that dominate this world, Jesus never asked God to remove us from the world. Rather, He sends us into it while praying for our protection from the evil one. “Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth” (vv.18-19).

The source of our strength is only found in our union with God (v.21). When the world sees love and unity within the body of Christ, it sees a reflection of Jesus and the culture of His kingdom and may even be drawn to faith in Him.

The temptations of contemporary culture regularly press in and attempt to steal our attention away from God’s ways. Instead, by Jesus’ power, may we live out our unity in Him and reflect His holy ways (vv.16-17).

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day plan: 1 John 5:1-21

Read Philippians 4:4-9 and reflect on what it means to fix our thoughts on—as well as put into practice—the things that are “excellent and worthy of praise”. 
Who do you listen to when it comes to understanding your identity? How can you further strengthen your identity as a child of God?