What is with all of this snow? Makes you want to go south for the winter. What a concept! There are several people from our church that have done just that. I’m not bitter or anything… I know! – I can plan a pastoral call. It’s the least I can do.
I was reading John 16 the other day. Jesus is preparing the disciples for His departure. He is telling them that He will no longer be with them but He will return for them. Jesus mentions that their grief will turn into joy in time. Before Jesus turns toward heaven and prays He says, “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 .
Jesus said they will have trouble. Some believe that if they have enough faith then they will not experience hardship or trouble. If you believe that then you may want to tell Paul, the early believers, and modern day believers they didn’t have enough faith. All throughout the Scripture we see passages that show us the many hardships early believers had to endure. One thing is certain, God did not plan the hardships. The enemy of our soul planned for many attacks and difficulties to discourage people of faith and keep the Gospel from spreading. As a matter of fact, the enemy is still working nonstop to prevent people from experiencing God’s fullness.
Paul lists several imprisonments, beatings, being exposed to death, stoned, shipwrecked, and many times in danger of losing his life. The list goes on and on (2 Corinthians 11). There are many other accounts of different believers tested and tried. But regardless of what the enemy tried to do, he was unsuccessful in overcoming them. Each one found themselves in the trials of life not because of a lack of faith. They were more than conquerors because of their faith and hope in Jesus. A person of no faith would have fallen under the pressures of life.
When Jesus said that we would have trouble in this world, He used the Greek word thlipsis which describes a situation so difficult that it causes one to feel stressed, pressured, or crushed. It is describing an unbearable situation. Jesus tells us to take heart. The Greek word literally means to be courageous. Some translations say, “Fear not.” It is something you would say to someone who is facing some kind of hardship.
Then Jesus tells us, “I have overcome the world.” The word “overcome” is the Greek word nikos, which is also the word for victory. The way they use the word implies not one victory but multiple victories. So what Jesus implies is this: “I have overcome the world; I am still overcoming the world; and I will always be overcoming the world!” And that is who we place our faith, hope, and trust in.
It is interesting to look at the word, “World.” It is the same Greek word used in 2 Corinthians 4:4 when Paul refers to Satan as the “god of this world.” Satan is not god of this earth, but he operates through human systems that have been put in place by man (from politics to the internet). Satan uses them to attack the church and God’s people.
So take heart, Jesus is sitting on the right hand of the Father rooting you on. No matter what you may be going through – never give up! Grab hold of Jesus' words and be an overcomer. Everything Satan ever tries to use against you, remind him that you were bought with a great price and you will finish the assignment given to you by God Himself.
Walk in the victory of Jesus today!
Joy in Jesus!