8 Minute Read
Today’s Bible Reading:
2 Samuel 12:1-31
Today’s Bible Verse(s):
John 16:33 (NLT): “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):
No one would deny that life is tough. It certainly has its challenging moments. But, for some people, those times last much longer than moments.
Jesus speaks into our difficult times when He says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.”
He said that all of His talk about the cross, dying, going away, sending an Advocate (the Holy Spirit), and so much more is necessary for His followers to experience peace in their hearts.
The Lord wants us to experience peace. In fact, it’s one of the tell-tell signs that we are filled with the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).
What does this peace look like? It’s the ability to have “calm” reign within our hearts even as the storms around us are raging. Maybe the doctor has given a bad prognosis. Maybe an unjust boss has fired you. Maybe the car has broken down, and there’s no money to get it fixed. Jesus is saying that it’s possible for the storms of life to rage and yet have a settled peace within our hearts.
What does this look like? Will we never again have to experience sorrow, anger, anxiety, or any other emotion that we deem undesirable? Of course not! Simply reading through the Gospels reveals that there were plenty of times when Jesus “groaned in his Spirit” or “wept” or grew angry. In fact, when we observe Him in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night He was betrayed, we see Him so anxious and stressed that His capillaries burst, and he was literally sweating blood (see Luke 22:44).
Sometimes God’s peace will replace every negative emotion we are experiencing. It will wash over us and give us a quiet confidence that God is in control. Yet, many other times, we will simply feel a quiet peace even as we experience various other emotions. Regardless of how God provides us with His peace, it is His gift to help us endure whatever circumstances He sees fit to send our way.
So, how do we get this peace? Is it just wishful thinking, or is this peace based upon something substantive?
Notice again what Jesus said:
John 16:33 (NLT): “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.””
Jesus acknowledged that we will have trouble in this world. He’s not spouting off positivity talk. He’s being honest in saying that life will get hard sometimes.
But … we are called to be courageous. We are called to stand tall. We are called to be unafraid and experience the peace within our hearts that everything is going to be OK (however God chooses to define “OK”).
Why? What is this based upon?
Jesus answered this question when He said: “I have overcome the world.”
Simply put, the world system with all of its sin and consequences that make life so difficult is a defeated foe. By His righteous life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection, Jesus has defeated sin, self-rule, and Satan. The trinity of evil has been defeated.
So, when life gets tough, we must remind ourselves that it’s because we live in a sin-sick, broken world. Bad things happen because Adam sinned. He essentially put water in the motor, and the engine isn’t running as God originally intended. Bad things happen.
But, the Holy Spirit has been given to us to help us through this broken world. He has come to us to empower us so that we can live obediently even as we walk through trials. And one day, we will close our eyes in death and be ushered into the presence of our Lord to enjoy forever. Sin and its consequences, which presently create such difficulty for us, will never again be our experience. So, even if we are overwhelmed with trials, we should look ahead with excited anticipation of one day being with our Lord.
Is life tough? You betcha! But, we can take heart and live victoriously because our Lord has overcome it. And because He has, so will we.
Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.