May 7

1 John 5:4b-6

“Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” vs. 5

The phrase “conquers the world” conjures up in our minds great Christian armies flying the flag of Christ traveling by land and sea to win victory over pagan peoples in order to bring them into the family of Christ. And indeed there have been times when such armies did range through Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas in one crusade or another. Unfortunately that isn’t even close to what the scriptures have in mind by conquering the world. The world refers to those forces familiar to us all which are allied against the rule and will of God. They pull at our hearts and tempt us to indulge in our natural appetites. The world is creation turned against itself, and the origin of every kind of tyranny we can imagine. Following the way of the world leads us into nightmarish webs of intrigue and selfish desires–and it’s a powerful foe. We see its influence in popular culture, social media, politics, business, and it even creeps into religious organizations. But the thing is, God loves the world, even to the point of dying that it might be redeemed and fulfill its creative promise. As the people of God, gathered around the cross of Jesus, we are charged with overcoming the world, not with force of arms, but with the power of love.  Our conquering will be gentle, kind, and restorative. In and through us the world will be resurrected together with Christ.

Thought for the Day: What are the ways of the world?

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