Following Jesus in a World That Doesn’t
The world gives us so many ways to conform through advertising, TV shows and movies. We’re told that if we wear the right clothes, say the right things and act the right way, we’ll be loved and accepted by everyone. But can we fit in and still follow Jesus?
In John 15, Jesus tells his friends, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world” (John 15:19). Following Jesus is not always going to be accepted, and it more than likely won’t be popular. So how do we follow Jesus in a world that doesn’t?
In John 15:9, Jesus reveals the answer: “Now remain in my love.” The key to following Jesus in a world where fitting in is the most important thing is this: Remain in God’s love. To remain means to continue to exist after other people have walked away. Remaining in God’s love is allowing God’s love to filter every thought, feeling and action we have. It’s making God’s love the foundation of our lives. When we remain, we don’t compromise our convictions to conform to culture. Instead, we use our faith to transform the world around us.
Three ways to stay focused on Jesus:
1. Read your Bible.
Psalm 119:105 describes the Bible as “ a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” God uses the Bible to light our paths and show us the ways we need to go in life. If you’re continually in God’s word, you’ll find it easier to remain in His love.
2. Do what God says.
Jesus says, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love” (John 15:10). If we listen to God and do what He says, we will remain in His will.
3. Serve others.
Right after Jesus tells us to keep his commands, He gives this instruction: “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Following Jesus doesn’t mean you can only hang out with other Christians. We may not be not of the world, but we were sent into the world to love others like Jesus loved us. The best way to not be influenced by the conforming nature of the world is use God’s love to influence the world.
As Jesus was praying for His closest friends the night before He died, He said, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18). Jesus wants us to be a part of the world. We must be in the world to reach lost people! But we can’t let our desire to fit in keep us from following Jesus.