The Tension (or Testing) of the Times
"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. John 17:13-14
Christians are always caught in tension between the prevailing standards of our culture and the standards of Jesus Christ. We are called to live in that tension. We must neither cave in nor bailout. The more we are molded by Christ, the more tension we will have with our culture.
Here is the purpose of what Jesus is telling us: We Christians ought to stand out in this modern culture, not as arrogant, condescending religious zealots, but as unapologetic and unashamed representatives of Jesus Christ. It should not bother us that we don't fit in. Notice what Jesus said about us, the church: "They are not of this world even as I am not of this world."
We Christians are not supposed to be different just for the sake of differentness. There is no virtue is just being weird. Our distinctiveness should be evident in our actions of joy, love and peace, but also in our values and lifestyle. We Christians have values that are different from worldly views.
I like how Rev. John Wesley put it, “"Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can!"
What a shame if the world cannot detect anything different from the culture we live in compared to the character we portray. Are we hot or cold, standing or sitting, testing and passing in the tension of the times? Are we passing or failing the tests? These are the times, this is the place and we are His people.