Scripture: John 17:13–19
Key Verse: [Jesus said:] “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:14–15)
Scripture passages like this one might make you feel like you’re in a covert spy movie, and you might sense there is nowhere on this earth to which you truly belong. Or maybe it’s more like being a not-so-secret-agent who lives in one place yet belongs in another.
As a military teen, your reality is that you may have moved a bunch, lost a group of friends, or even experienced betrayal and bullying. These are hard no matter who you are, but for those that believe in Jesus Christ, your experience might be even more challenging. You are called upon to deal with these situations ways that might make you uncomfortable. But there is a secret—you are not supposed to feel comfortable, as though you belong to this world!
When we become part of the church, the body of Christ, we belong to God and his kingdom. We live according to God’s Word. Unlike those of the world who think they have everything figured out by excluding God, you and I really do know the truth! We have God’s Word that affirms who we are, and we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus has prayed for our protection in this world. No one can defeat God, so no one can defeat his agents!
Jesus’s blood secures your place in God, and with God’s protection, you can confidently act as God’s agent who has information the other side doesn’t have. You can move behind enemy lines, messing with their plans and inserting God’s plans! Where these is destruction, you can bring restoration life! Where there is pain and despair, you can bring hope! Where there is anger and hate, you can bring love!
How does it feel to realize you don’t “belong” to this world? Does knowing the truth and having a mission to bring that truth to others in this world change how you look at your friends, school, family, and so on?
This is a tough assignment. Knowing that you are an agent of God’s kingdom, make a list of three things in the world that you think express hatred toward the things and people of God (as Jesus said in the Scripture verse). Talk to a trusted friend about your list and what can be done about it.
God, thank you for giving me the choice to join in your kingdom work through the church! Belonging to you is such a relief! When I look around, all I see is rejection and conditional love. I am so grateful that you have always loved me. You always wanted me, and you will always accept me just as I am. I am so grateful that I belong to you, and not this broken world. Please show me how to offer others the truth of Jesus and your kingdom. Make me an agent of hope who brings the message of belonging to you to a disconnected world. Remind me every day that I belong to you and I have your protection! Amen.