“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.” – Jn. 16:33 NIV
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Jesus Christ, in the 14th Chapter of the biblical book of John, had began to prepare his disciples for life after his departure. He had told them, amongst other promises, of the coming of the Holy Spirit, in order that they are not left comfortless and like orphans. In chapter 16 which is the reference chapter for today’s devotion, he told them of the difficult times ahead with their oppressors even believing that killing them will be an act of service to the Almighty God – Jn. 16:1-4. Letting them know that the Holy Spirit will be available to them to see them through since he will not be present (Jn. 16:5-16), he assured them that all those sorrows will eventually turn into joy – Jn. 16:17-28. At the end of what seemed like that part of his valedictory speech, his disciples eventually accepted that he was from God, something he acknowledged with joy but added that their faith will soon be weakened when the wave of persecution starts (Jn. 16:30-31). He concludes with the scripture today, highlighting the following points:
1. That they will experience trouble – Jn. 16:33b.
2. That they need not entertain any fear as he has already overcome all such troubles – Jn. 16:33c. Therefore, all they need to do was to lean on him and they have assurance of victory.
That this heads up warning applies to the Christian today is not in doubt. The true Christian needs to expect persecution and oppression in the world that we live in today. A world that Satan’s influence looms large and there is the willingness of many to follow his lead. A world where the expectation of moral in the conduct of people has become some form of an abnormal. In such a world, persecution of someone who intends to operate in the principles of the Almighty God and Jesus Christ will become the norm and that is what Christ himself predicted will happen.
In the scripture for today, he urged anyone and everyone who intends to follow him to prepare for troubles. To prepare for trouble means to anticipate problems and difficulties. Some versions of the Bible use the word “tribulation”, which means a state of great trouble and suffering. That is what Jesus Christ urged his followers to prepare for. Unfortunately, that is what the average Christian today does not want to have and that accounts for the lack of faith and helter-skelter movement from one denomination to the other and from one sect to the other. One who decides to live the Christian life should know that it is a life of battle. Battle against forces of darkness who the Bible says are the powerful rulers of this world – Eph. 6:12. These are the people that the decisive Christian is challenging when a decision is made to remain loyal to the decision to worship only the Almighty God and accept Christ as Lord and savior.
Jesus Christ was however not just raising an alarm or creating fear as he constantly re-assured all his followers that they were not going to be left comfortless and like orphans – Jn. 14:15-19; 26-27. Jesus Christ’s assurance is however based on the conditions he had spelt out in this his speech and they are as follows:
1. The Christian must remain in the him so that he can be in such a person – Jn. 14: 21-24; Jn. 15:1-7. To remain in Jesus is to see no other, or have no other to run to in those difficult times. To remember that he earlier said and promised to be there to provide victory over the situation.
2. The Christian must act according to the dictate of the Holy Spirit as that is the peace that he is leaving for his followers – Jn. 16:1-15. Disobedience to the instructions of the Holy Spirit will make it impossible for the Christian to be able to overcome as that is the source of information about the spiritual strategy to get the Christian out of the persecution. Inability to operate in the Holy Spirit will no doubt automatically make it impossible for the Christian to enjoy this huge advantage.
3. The Christian must always ask everything from the father in the name of Jesus – Jn. 14:12-14. Asking in another way will not produce the desired victory as the key to enjoying this peace will be, if all that the Holy Spirit lays in the mind of the Christian in such situations, is presented as a supplication to the Almighty God in the name of Jesus Christ – Jn. 16:24-28
It is with strict observance of these conditions that the Christian can remain fearless in the face of all those tribulations.
Are you presently lacking peace because of the activities of these forces that are warring against you due to your decision to live the Christian life style? Then, it is either there is an issue with your adherence to the conditions earlier stated or you are operating in ignorance of who you are. Quickly do an assessment of what your issue is but do not consider that the enemy can overcome you if the two earlier points have been adhered to. It is simply impossible because indeed, Jesus Christ as overcome the world. Operate in this knowledge and peace will be the only result that you will get in Jesus name. Amen.