[Jesus said]: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. … If they persecute me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. --John 15:18-20

What is a Christian? In the Letter to Diognetus, dating back to the second century, an anonymous writer described Christians:

"Christians are not differentiated from other people by country, language, or customs; …they do not live in cities of their own, or speak some strange dialect. … They live in both Greek and foreign cities….They follow local customs in clothing, food, and the other aspects of life. But at the same time, they demonstrate to us the unusual form of their own citizenship.

"They live in their own native lands, but as aliens. … They marry and have children…but they do not kill unwanted babies. They offer a shared table, but not a shared bed. They are passing their days on earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the appointed laws and go beyond the laws in their own lives.

"They love everyone, but are persecuted by all. They are put to death and gain life. They are poor and yet make many rich. They are dishonored and yet gain glory through dishonor. … They are mocked and blessed in return. They are treated outrageously and behave respectfully to others.

"When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; when punished, they rejoice as if being given new life. They are attacked by Jews…and are persecuted by Greeks; yet those who hate them cannot give any reason for their hostility."

If you are a believer, the Bible commands you "…not [to] conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…" (Romans 12:2). And you can expect the world to hate you as a result (see 1 John 3:13). Continue to be sanctified by the truth of God's Word and be in the world but not of it (see John 2:15).

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Pray that God would empower you to always be set apart, even when the world hates you, so that others can see the difference Jesus has made in your life. 

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