A force to be reckoned with
I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. (John 17:15-18)
Jesus did not do the 'easy thing' and ask his Father to just deliver us from this world, so we'd never have to face the challenges inherent in living on this earth. He asked his Father to keep us safe from the evil one. Notice that Jesus knows there has been a change of 'citizenship' - no longer belonging to this world, but to the Kingdom of God. It might be a bit like a dual citizenship, though. We are still living in this world, doing the things we must do in this world, such as working at a job, paying our bills, and being good neighbors. We are also enjoying the privilege of being part of the family of God - participating with him as part of this family, doing the things we must do as part of his family such as supporting one another, praying for those we might label as 'enemies', and sharing the gospel message with those who need to hear it. We are "IN" this world, but we are no longer "OF" this world. We are "IN" the family of God, but we don't always fulfill the things "OF" his family mission. Jesus prayed that his Father would make us holy - not by some magical swish of a 'spiritual magic wand', but by his truth. In other words, get truth deep into our hearts and let it do the rest!
We are being sent, but not before we have been prepared. This is why it is so important to allow the Word of God to get into the very fibers of our being - affecting us deeply until we understand our 'mission' and 'calling' as a child in the family of God. Too many times, we expect to be 'delivered from' the things that seem to give us our greatest challenges, but God's plan is to use his Word to wash over us, cleansing us, and setting us on a firm foundation. Do you know what the term 'terra firma' means? It means 'solid ground'. God is at work 'in' each of us, so that he can soon be at work 'through' each of us. As he sets us on 'solid ground' individually, we are prepared to face our greatest enemy as a unified army of believers. Solid ground isn't won when it comes to the 'footing' and 'foothold' that God gives his kids. It is given because we have come under his leadership and march against our enemy as a unified force. Our family mission is unity - living at harmony with each other. Our family purpose may just be to push the enemy as far away from us as he can possibly be removed - and when we can no longer push him back ourselves, God does the rest of the pushing. Truth deposited deep within our inner man becomes the means by which 'unholy' people are made into 'holy' people God can use to be 'on mission' with him.
We may resist the times when God wants to get his truth deep into our hearts, but he won't give up on depositing bits and pieces of his truth until we lay hold of it as he intends. He won't give up on making us into a 'force' to be reckoned with on this earth. Just sayin!