Hi, Rob here. In John 16:33 Jesus says to his disciples, “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.” So, in Christ we will have peace but in the world we will have trouble. I love the concept but the reality makes me want to rewrite the verse: “So, in Christ we will have fleeting moments of near-peace. In this world you will have persistent anguish-causing trouble!” That’s what it feels like doesn’t it? So, in this world of shutdowns, terrorism, divorce, violence, bad TV, war, inane talkback radio, warped pop culture and dumbed-down media, how do we get past the trouble to the peace that Christ has promised us?
I think the answer lies in the final part of Jesus’ statement; “Take heart. I have overcome the world.” Let’s face it, when life is difficult and stressful it is really hard to remember or believe that Christ has overcome the world. But we must. Because he has. So let’s trust him.
Earlier in John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus is telling us that we have a choice about what happens to our hearts. We can take heart; we can choose peace. This is because in Christ we are given new hearts that are good. We are in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit. We have hearts of flesh, not of stone and God’s word is written on them. So as Proverbs 4:27 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Jesus Christ, through his incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father has overcome all the forces that make war against your heart. Sin is not who you really are. Satan had no hold on Jesus and his accusations and lies have no hold on us either. Remember, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).” Death has lost its sting so we no longer fear it (Hebrews 2:15). We discover that we are children of God, lavished with love by a good Father (1 John 3:1, Romans 8:15), not puppets on a string pulled by a distant and capricious god. Fear of rejection, fear of man, fear of losing control, can now give way to freedom, joy and confidence as we are led by the Spirit through life. We also know that Jesus is coming back with the fullness of the kingdom in tow and we will reign with him (Revelation 22:5). That is the future that we belong to and nothing can take it away from us.
So, what will you choose today? Will you choose to live out of your old self or your new heart? Will you choose fear and worry or freedom and faith? Will you choose to trust in the overcoming, triumphant work of Jesus or fall for the lies and accusations of the enemy? I pray for myself and for us all that we will guard our hearts in Christ Jesus, take refuge in his good work, trust his goodness and his saving work and live for his name and reflect his glory in all that we do and say today and always. It is a battle. We will take some blows and at times even feel defeated. But we are not. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37) and there is absolutely nothing that will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).
So peace be with you. Take heart. Your king, Jesus, has overcome the world and your heart is good, free and alive in him.