By Jack Glover
Those who serve Christ must continue to live on this physical ball we call the world, even though living here we are instructed to not conform to worldly practices (Rom. 12:2). We are in the world but not of the world.
Jesus perceived that His disciples would not have the approval of the world and warned them to remember they would not be the first to experience being hated. He also had suffered the scorn of the world, although many of them claimed to serve God.
If the world hates you, [a]you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 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, because of this the world hates you (John 15:18-19).
Living in the world with all its temptations is difficult. We, like the earlier disciples, will experience various forms of ridicule when we do not become associates with worldly people and their sins.
Peter said, “In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (I Pet. 4:4) John admonished, “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you” (I John 3:13). So what reaction should we have when worldly hate comes our way? Should it be one of expectation or disappointment?
It seems plain that we should not expect the approval of all our neighbors, friends or work associates. Approval of family is even too great an expectation (Matt. 10:21). But when we face the disapproval (hate) knowing they hated Jesus first, it should bring a reaction of joy — “and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame” (I Pet. 3:16)