Food for Friday

I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the world. John 17:15

The purpose of a ship is to travel on the ocean. If you take the ship out of the ocean, it serves no purpose; it conducts no business; it generates no profit for its masters. Time spent in drydock for maintenance or repairs is important to the ship’s future usefulness, but it is not a time of profit. A good ship makes good progress through the ocean in good weather and successfully navigates through bad weather. Her element of operation is the ocean, and that is where she is ought to be. But tragedy occurs when the ocean gets into the ship. All sorts of difficulty occur when seawater enters the vessel, even the possibility of the ship sinking. It is the same with Christians; we are in our element of service in the world, but we are courting tragedy if the world gets into us.

Many of us remember the account of the Herald of Free Enterprise, a ro-ro ferry operating between the Belgian port of Zeebrugge and the English port of Dover. On the night of March 6, 1987, somebody forgot to close the bow doors as the ship departed Zeebrugge. Seawater rushed in and within minutes, the ship sank, killing 193 passengers and crew. We call that a tragedy, and so it was. It is also a tragedy when a child of God allows the world to enter his life where it should not go. In our text, the Lord Jesus is praying for us. His desire is not that we be taken out of the world. It is only in the world that we can be a witness for our Lord and serve Him as we ought. But there is always a danger that the world will make its entrance into those areas of our life that should be for our Lord.

Our top priorities in life should revolve around the will of God. If our goals are in sync with the leading of the Holy Spirit and in harmony with the Word of God, we will be like a seaworthy and profitable ship. We will be able to testify of our Lord’s mercy and grace, and display His power in transforming and preserving us. We will be kept from the evil influences that would destroy us and bring us to shipwreck in our service for our Lord.

There are days when we long to be taken out of this world, but that is not God’s purpose for us. His desire is for us to remain in the world, but separated from it, that we might bring glory to our Lord. -Jim MacIntosh

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