“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“Mama said there’ll be days like this
There’ll be days like this mama said” -(by Luther Dixon & Willie Denson)
Are you having one of THOSE days?
Our frustrations and troubles within this world look vastly different from the early church and that of Jesus’ disciples. Yet, this verse is for you and for me today. All too often we engage souls in these ministries that we are responsible for. All too often we hear other people’s problems and they become ours. It becomes a shared burden. We provide care, support and guidance to many within our flock. We feel the burden of these cares, and sometimes they weigh heavy on us.
Other times our troubles come by way of our calling. Sometimes the ministries we have been called to or placed in suddenly become a “dry and thirsty land” with very little by way of encouragement, support and hope. Sometimes instead of a passionate, flowing river of a numerically “successful” ministry we face a slim trickle of moderate or rare numeric success which makes us ponder the questions: “am I cut out for this?” and “what have I done wrong?“…and we face discouragement, disillusionment and even depression.
Still, on other occasions these troubles come by way of outward pressures in our communities or individualistic persecutions. Perhaps we face false teachers, or we must confront immorality within our church and when we do, we’re blasted as “judgmental” and shouted at with curses and graceless comments such as “how dare you, what gives you the right?” We question if we should have just let sleeping dogs lie but in our hearts we know it was the right thing to do and we did so with grace and love. Still…troubles from without and from within have left us wounded and discouraged.
About That Peace?…
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples after telling them of not only His pending death but also of their pending troubles in the world…but there was hope. There is always hope in the Father. There is always hope in the Son. There is always hope in the Holy Spirit who guides us on this path. Have you ever heard the phrase “keep the main thing the main thing?” It alludes to the need for keeping the principle of our mission at the forefront of our minds.
Our Principle: The message of Christ (Messiah), the message of the cross, the message of salvation, of resurrection, of hope, of reconciliation, of love, and victory over sin and death.
When we keep “the main thing the main thing”, we realign ourselves with God and turn away from the problems of this world. Not that the problems of this world aren’t important, but rather, The Author of life itself takes His proper place in our priorities. From this place of understanding we then can look around our world and truly see how things are and how they could be. This is when we begin to see the world through the eyes of Christ because we are striving to live for Him alone. This is holiness. This is surrendering ourselves at the foot of the cross and then picking up our own crosses to follow Him.
Peace? What Peace?
Carrying our crosses and following Him (Matthew 16:24) doesn’t sound “peaceful” does it? Pain still exists. Hurtful accusations, slander and suffering will still occur. How could THIS be peaceful? One might ask. Perhaps “peace” means something differently than what we initially thought it to mean. It is certainly not the absence of conflict in our lives; for there is still conflict. It is not the absence of adversity, discouragement or suffering either; for we still encounter these on our path as well. Then what is this peace that Christ provides to us if it is not the absence of conflict? It is an eternal peace. A peace that transcends this temporal, mortal existence. It is a peace that alleviates the burdens of our former self as we embrace the image of Christ. It is a peace that resides in our lives because His Holy presence brings us assurance and hope. It is a peace that still passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7) yet conveys to us that we are not alone and we will overcome because He has overcome.
Are you in need of that peace today in your life?
Are you facing discouragement, hopelessness and pain? You aren’t alone. You do not have to carry this burden by yourself. There is One who can provide you with this peace. Perhaps there is some realignment that must be done in your heart today. Perhaps we must go before the Father again with a penitent heart. Perhaps it is a simple yet constant prayer of “Lord use me and allow me to see evidence of You in my life.”
Be encouraged today! We are not alone. We are not abandoned. We are overcomers because Christ has overcome the world. Allow this peace to evident in your life today!
Something more to ponder today. To God be the Glory!