When I was out walking the other with my beautiful wife - we came across a sign on the fence of a house that said "Beware of the dog" - well they weren't wrong!
Not just one dog but two - cooped up in the small handkerchief sized front yard - both vicious and snarling and both pretty worked up because we had dared walk past their territory.
We both talked about how terrible it would be to be attacked by wild dogs and how fortunate we have been so far to avoid it - those dogs were indeed ferocious!
It made us wonder why in the world would anyone want to keep such wild animals as pets!
Somehow I just couldn't get my mind off those terrible dogs - they were just so savage - yet those people inside obviously loved them - they could see something in them that we were at a loss to explain!
Seeing those dogs and the absolute hate in their eyes for us as strolled/ran past made me think of hate in the world generally!
The world out there is full of hate unfortunately - and if you are a Christian then a lot of the time that hatred is aimed for and squarely at you.
The world hates Christ - and if you are fully committed to Jesus then it stands to reason that the world will hate you also.
James in his letter spells it out pretty plainly that we can't be friends with the world an friend with God at the same time - God won't have it and the world will hate us.
James 4: 4 says "Do you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."
I wrote a further blog about this very subject in November of this year entitled:- "You can't be in two camps or play for two teams."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote lines along a similar vein when he said quote:- "If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs in the world yelping at your heels."
That just about sums it up for me - maybe in not so graphic terms as Spurgeon puts it - but the thought is there - that we make ourselves a walking target when we stand up for and confess that Jesus is our Lord and we are committed to Him.
More than that though - Satan the arch enemy of our Father is out to get us also.
1 John 5:19 says "We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one"
WOW! the whole world! - pretty awesome when you think of it.
Then in 2 Tim 3:1 "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty"
So again that is pretty plain- God has already told us that we will be hated by all men for His name sake - Satan is prowling around tempting us at every turn - throwing our past sins up at us - telling us we are not worthy to come to Christ - even making us believe that we have no need of forgiveness.
Anything to keep our eyes off God and onto ourselves - that is his aim - to make us backtrack - to turn away from God and to give our allegiance to him and the world.
Paul had the same worries about this very thing. He says this to the Corinthians "But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ." (2 Cor. 11:3).
So what do we do? If we fully love God and make that love known to others by our actions then the world will resent our commitment for the very reason that it will show them their own sins and iniquities (if I can use that word)
In other words we will become living testimonies to the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives and the world will not like that - they won't want to hear that their lives can be changed.
We will need the bravery and steadfastness of a lion to face the world at large - we need each other for support and assistance - we need our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord to give us the courage to fight against all the evil powers that Satan will throw at us.
We will need to be brave when we make a definite stand against Satan. We may see our very best friends become our fiercest enemies.
But for Jesus' amazing love we will be, with the awesome help of the Holy Spirit, courageous, brave and true when facing off with our enemy.
As I have mentioned before, we are only passing through here - this world is not our home - Jesus traveled this road long before us - He has won the battle - we need to uphold His standard in the fight and we desperately need to follow in His footsteps.
It is far far better to fight this brief warfare here and share in our (undeserved) reward won by Jesus Himself than to give in to the world and all the dastardly consequences that that will bring for eternity.
Fight the good fight - Jesus has won the battle - we need to hold His standard high and put on the whole armour of our Lord and Saviour.