John 15:18 “If the world hates you, be aware~~ that it hated me first.”
Whom do you want as your worst enemy: the world or God? Unfortunately, everyone has to choose. If you love the world, it may treat you well temporarily, but it is a fickle and cruel taskmaster.
However, such a compromise with the world makes God an enemy: “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
On the other hand, friendship with God inevitably provokes the wrath of the world system.
A choice between God and the world is imperative because the two options are incompatible. Something happens within a believer that forces a decision: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24).
John described the world system as a social structure manipulated by satanic control and always hostile to God’s people. Thankfully, for now, the Spirit of God “is holding [the antichrist] back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time… but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way” (2 Thes 2:6,7b) at the Rapture.
Then satanic forces will be unrestricted in their opposition to anyone who dares to follow God’s word. Few will survive the horrible persecution of the tribulation period (Rev 4–19); but now “the secret power of lawlessness is already at work” (2:7a).
Jesus was hated at His birth (Matt 2:13–16) and throughout His ministry. The disciples had to accept inevitable persecution or walk away, just as the seed sown in “rocky places” (13:20) is the one “who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the Word, he quickly falls away” (13:21).
We must decide to follow Jesus knowing that it will not be a popular decision.
For a believer, it is an honor to take a hit for Jesus. Any secret service officer will step between an assassin and his president. Jesus is saying, “The world is no friend of mine, nor will they be of yours. Will you stand true to My Word no matter what?” Do not expect any less today. Take courage.
“Lord Jesus, my sinful soul wants to be popular with others, but their price is too high. They demand my conformity to them, but my heart wants to walk with You and to be like You. I prefer Your fellowship whatever the consequences.”