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 (NIV)
In John 16, Jesus is explaining to His disciples that He must leave soon, but when He does, the ‘Advocate’ (I love that word) will come and be revealed to them. He goes on to say that they will face trials and troubles, they’ll be persecuted and maybe even killed all in the name of God.
It’s an interesting situation. A man who was ‘assumed’ to bring the world physical peace and order, offered none of that. Instead, Jesus explains throughout the Gospels time and again that we will experience troubles and trials. We cannot be immune to the things that have grown wild in this sin polluted world.
The point is not, and has never been, a trouble, conflict-free life. Yet, we fight trouble and conflict like it is the enemy. We get so easily distracted by the differences we find in each other and focus all our energy on proving people wrong, fighting their lifestyles and choices, arguing and fuelling hatred into the world. (Anyone who commits a crime needs to be made accountable for their actions, I’m not saying we turn a blind eye to evils’ perpetrated).
There are spiritual and supernatural undertones to everything we face. Evil is present in people, because evil is present. Love is present in people because love is all around us. He has already made a way for that love to permeate the hidden and dark places of sin and corruption. He has overcome the forces of this world, the supernatural and spiritual forces behind the scenes have had their dominion and power diminished through the cross. They still exist and inject the world with their poison, but because of the overcoming power of God's love, we can stand against this darkness with grace and hope in our hands and hearts.
When you see evil around you, TAKE HEART – Take a hold of your heart, steal yourself away from anxiety and despair, fear and hate, and choose LOVE. Hope in Jesus, have faith that even though circumstantially evil is present, we can fight that evil not by standing against each other, but by standing in love beside one another.
We will face trouble. Evil is at work. Darkness visits. BUT, Jesus has overcome through love and will empower you to do the same.
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