Continuing on with John, Chapter 15, where Jesus gave specific instructions to His Disciples. In the first part of this chapter, Jesus discusses the fruit of the vine. In the two posts before this one, I went on to talk about the portion in verse 12 through 17, where Jesus commands His Disciples (and by extension, the rest of His body, the church) to “love one another” as He loved us. The point was to show people that there are different kinds of love, and while God is indeed “Love,” He wants for us to know Him.
The opposite of Love is not necessarily Hate, as we understand it. Just as there are different kinds of love, there are different kinds of Hate. They’re not necessarily “worse” levels, but different forms of it that destroy us in various ways. For Christians, the one that gets us, that causes us to fall away, is Indifference. It starts with taking something for granted, and then one day you simply don’t care about it anymore. For people who don’t know Jesus, our God the Father and the Holy Spirit, though, their brand of Hate is a whole different animal.
This kind of hatred is borne out of ignorance, stubbornness, an unwillingness to listen, a lack of curiosity and a need to express angst over things they don’t bother to try to understand. It isn’t that these people don’t believe there’s a God. This is about rebelling against Him. You can’t rebel against something that you think doesn’t exist. No, this is about shaking their fist at Him, mocking Him.
Why do they hate Him so?
Because God wants us to control our flesh, to overcome it, to become something far greater in spirit. They reject this, think they have it all figured out and they see limiting the flesh as placing limitations on themselves. They have no idea that they are in fact slaves to their own flesh. They see God as the one who says “No” to everything. They don’t care why, they just know they will not give up their fleshly ways.
When you try to talk to these people about the Gospel, about Jesus, they flip out on you. You might as well be trying to take Meth or Cocaine away from the addict. When you do so, they will hate you even though they know it’s bad for them, even if they know that your intention is to help them. They don’t care. They just want their rock – their crack rock – also known as the Flesh.
So they hate and they lash out at anyone standing in the way of getting what they want. Just like hamsters at the feeder bottle in a laboratory. Caged rats. And the cages are their own minds. There was even a band who wrote a song about it, and the lyrics say: “In spite of my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage.”
This kind of hatred is akin to how the Pharisees and Sadducees hated Jesus and rejected Him (referring to the stone they threw down, which then became the cornerstone).
This section reads:
The Hatred of the World
– John 15:18-27
Some of us were rejected by the World (society, humankind) since birth. Jesus was the prime example of this. He came into this world in a very humble way and He left it 33 years later, still humble, yet at the same time exalted as the King of Kings. At first only a few people saw him for who He was, but as time went on, that would change. 2,000 years later, His Word still remains, just as Jesus said. This world shall pass away, but His word would still remain. His sacrifice for us still remains in effect, and is all the more powerful for its incredible humility. Had it been untrue, the power would have faded long ago. But it hasn’t. Jesus is the Word made flesh, and now while He is in spirit, the Word has just as much impact as it did back then. Because it is alive, as He is alive.
I was thinking about this the other day while I was at work, listening to a couple of Millenial kids bashing Jesus on the other side of the cubicle from me. The “old me” would have jumped up and said, “Excuse me, but could you please not use His name as a curse word?” Instead the thought came that they know not what they do. they’ve been taught this by their parents and peers, and the people that came before them. They’ve been allowed to have their way for so long, they’d just think I was a crazy extremist if I expressed any opinion that was different than theirs. They would be appalled by it. Instead, I felt sorry for them, because neither one of them knows Jesus at all. If they did, they surely wouldn’t besmirch His Holy name. But then, I remember that Jesus said this sort of thing would happen – and worse.
The day is coming, though, when these kids will think back on their words and recoil at the filthiness of what they said. Instead of taking offense, I just pray for them. Pray that they realize their error in thinking before it’s too late to do anything about it.
I think what has changed most about my outlook on life and the World is that I want nothing more of it. It’s not a matter of running from it or wanting to escape, it’s just a deep tiredness. Tired of seeing all these people so buried in their flesh that they can’t see the light of day. They wallow in their angst, their miserable form of self-righteousness and some days it seems like there’s no way to ever get through that in order to reach them. I can’t talk to them at work – I would be immediately fired. Some Christians might say, “Is your job worth more than Jesus?” No, it’s not worth more than Jesus, but I’m not stupid, either. On the day that the Holy Spirit nudges me and I have to speak no matter what, I will. God knows that about me.
It’s amazing just how much my paradigm has changed, even in just a year. A year ago, I would have hated both of these millennial kids at work, reviled them, spit on their shadows for being liberals. I thank God for finally letting me see past that now. With Jesus as my guide through these treacherous times (and make no mistake, on the surface things look calm but underneath are treacherous waters indeed), I am beginning to see things as they are. People on both sides of the political spectrum are all really on the same side: They belong to the World, the Flesh.
So how do you pull someone out of it?
The first step is that you realize, as a Christian, that “you” can’t pull anyone out of anything. You simply share the Word, share how Salvation happened for you and answer questions if needed, and then you let God do the rest. God in Jesus Christ IS who will pull them out of it. Not you.
I used to be out on the message boards and forums, arguing with people over the fact that God is real, that Jesus is real and is coming back, as well as subjects like the Rapture and whether or not it’s the last days. The good thing about being online is that you can reach a lot of people at once. The bad thing about being online is that it’s too easy for people to shut you out, shut you down, block you, block your IP address, and whatever it takes to shut you up. They dismiss you for a multitude of reasons, but whether or not they’re atheist or religious makes no difference if their minds are wrapped up in the World and they can’t see. They truly cannot see. I was there once, and not too long ago. I think about that before I talk to people anymore. What’s more, it can’t be about YOU, it has to be about Jesus. Your job is to get the Word out there, Jesus and the power of the Almighty God will do the rest.
How best to reach them? How to be “in” this world and not “of” it? That’s sort of easy for me. I’ve been an outcast all of my life. And people get violent these days when they hear something that threatens their way of thinking. They riot, burn stuff down, beat people up. That’s what we’re looking at now as Christians, when we decide to go out into the world and spread the Word. That’s why I’ve stayed online with it, mostly because I’ve been beat up and don’t exactly like it very much. Some Christians will say, “you’re a woman, you shouldn’t be teaching or preaching anyway,” then in the same breath they’ll say, “You’d better be ready to speak up for Jesus and if you do, be ready to take the worst beat-down that the World will hand you.” Well, which is it? It seems to me that the vessel, whether male or female, doesn’t matter, as long as said vessel is sharing the Word accurately and timely. Besides, I’m not running a church nor do I ever intend to. My goal is to talk to people one on one, give my testimony and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
That’s how you break through seemingly impenetrable walls – you share your story of how Jesus saved you. If people can relate to that, then maybe they’ll listen when you apply the Gospel to their situation as well. Most people aren’t going to jump up, yell “Hallelujah I’m saved” right away. But the seed will be planted there, and when things get difficult enough for them, they will return to it, it will take root and begin to grow. That’s the power of the Word of God in action. I’ve seen people transformed over time, right before my very eyes and Jesus is the reason.
That’s why I haven’t taken down my old blogs or even the older posts on this blog. I want people to see how I’ve changed, and how they too can change if they set their minds to it. If they want it badly enough. Five years ago, I would never have decided to sit down and read the book of Jeremiah, considering each verse and trying to understand how it relates to me today. But God keeps leading me to that book, though, and so I keep on reading. I shut the world out now, and I focus on what He wants me to do. I’m learning right now, building a solid foundation while I’m a time of relative comfort. I’ve seen adversity far too often in my life, and knowing this, God gave me a time to rest and heal. I’ve been ill – gravely ill – and didn’t know it. But I know this period of rest isn’t going to last forever. Once I’ve gotten my feet firmly planted on the ground and can stand on my own in regard to the Will of God, this time of “peace” will end for me. My job, my home, everything will be set aside and I will go where the Lord tells me to.
I am walking away from the world, but at the same time will going directly into it, facing the problems I’ve feared for a very long time and deal with them as I go. That’s what we’re all doing right now, if we’re all on the same page. We have a job, the Great Commission, and it must be done. Spread the Word, no matter what flak comes our way, just like those stalwart Christians who go out into the streets of Seattle to preach the Word to all the young, wanna-be communists. These are the people who need to hear about Jesus – the very ones who seem to revile Him the most.
No, I have never been under any false illusion that the Lord was going to let me keep to myself, puttering around in my porch-garden for the rest of my days. I turn 50 this year, and my body aches. I have things going wrong inside me that I can’t even name, but all of that no longer matters. God sent me up here for a reason and as each day passes, it becomes more and more clear to me what that reason is. Things are getting worse in this country, and around the world. We have North Korea and Russia to worry about, but even more so, the tensions right here in the United States that are boiling just under the surface. When the proverbial levee breaks, the flood will begin in the west coast. By August, the country will be a lot different than it is right now. As bad as things are, they will get worse. We all know this, in our heart of hearts. We don’t need to have special knowledge to know it’s coming.
Yes, there will be a Rapture, but we will see a lot of bad things happen first. Jesus and Paul the Apostle never said we’d be gone before that happened. Sorry Prosperity Gospel preachers and emergent church believers – we will see the Birth Pains. they’re already going on right now. But those who believe – truly believe – in Jesus Christ will get gathered up. We are not being gathered up to meet Him in the air to ‘escape” anything. We are being gathered as an army, one that will return alongside Jesus in the time of the Second Coming. Only those who repent and Overcome the World and the lure of the flesh will go. That will leave a lot of people with their jaws dropped open in shock, but Jesus told us so throughout the Gospels. Paul told us so in his epistles. Repent and Overcome. Reach out to Jesus.
Oh, and by the way, your motives for reaching out to Jesus only matter if they persist. If you doubt the power of God, then you only seek Jesus to be “rescued.” Rapture is not what most of us think it is. It is not going to be tidy. It is not an escape, it is going to happen and there is a purpose for it, just like there are going to be Tribulation Saints. There are people who simply refuse to trust God in Jesus Christ, refuse to let go of the world despite professing their belief in Jesus, and so they will remain here to see the great Tribulation. Not just “tribulations,” the THE Tribulation. They think that Jesus’s sacrifice as the perfect Lamb wasn’t good enough, that His work on the cross isn’t “finished,” that they must pay with their own blood, too. They still don’t “get it.” Christians have suffered for Jesus since the day He left this earth and this will only get worse as we go on. Nothing has changed, except the severity.
So, Pre-Wrathers, stop imagining that your own blood is somehow worth more than that of Jesus Christ. When He said “it is finished,” He meant that the sacrificial requirements to save us were met. To be included, what we have to do is repent, overcome the flesh and Believe.
The good news is that in the end, when all is said and done, we will emerge victorious. Because our Lord Jesus Christ said so, and I believe Him.