I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours …. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world …. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word …. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. John 17:9, 14, 20, 25-26

Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:

Suffering for one’s faith has been the experience of countless followers of Christ down through the centuries since Christ was here on earth. In other parts of the world today it frequently happens that followers of Christ are subject to ridicule, ostracization, loss of employment, confiscation of property, possessions, and money, beatings, imprisonment, torture, and even death. In our part of the world suffering for one’s faith in these ways is very infrequent or not at all. If we are ones who consistently seek to engage with others in open and honest ways regarding our faith in Christ, we will suffer for it on some level. Being mistreated by others to any degree, for any reason, is something we naturally would rather not experience.

Today’s Scripture is a special prayer of Christ for his followers, then and down through the ages. Jesus anticipated that we would suffer for our faith and his concern for this is very much a part of what he prays for. Jesus says that we are subject to the world’s hate because we are not of this world, even as he is not of this world. What is it that makes us not of this world? Jesus mentions several things: he has given us his word, we know the Father through Christ and the world does not, and the love with which the Father loved Christ is in us because Christ is in us. God’s love has been placed in our hearts through Christ and this love more than offsets anything the world brings our way that causes us to suffer for our faith as his followers. Love in suffering has been the secret resource of believers throughout history as they suffered for Christ in a world that has truly lost its grip on them because it is no longer their home.

Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:

Lord, thank you for your amazing love. Help me to enter into it more fully than ever before. Help it to be more real to me than anything else in life. Give me the boldness to be open and honest about my faith no matter what. Keep me fully focused on you and your love in the middle of anything and everything I go through in the way of suffering as a true follower of Christ. Amen!