Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 8, 2014

Do I Believe?

Do I Believe?

I’ll be the first to admit that my new year has not gotten off to the best start. A lingering cold and recurring back pain has served to dampen my energy and zeal to tackle my plans for the new year – not to mention, the banging my head against the wall telephone calls that I’ve been subjected to in trying to do something as simple as get my new insurance card (which I still haven’t received, by the way)! It’s been a tough couple of weeks in many ways, but then I opened a calendar from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and suddenly, my minor setbacks seemed trivial indeed!

As I turned the pages and stared into those sweet faces, the penetrating eyes peering beneath the shiny bald heads, and the innocent and sometimes even mischievous smiles; I thought about these kids and their families. There was no way I could fathom all they had been through this year – a parent watching a child undergo devastating cancer treatments, a child suffering in ways I never had, siblings whose lives also were turned upside down as families tried whatever they could to save the life of a brother or sister, and families whose lives seemed to be suspended in time and separated from anything that seemed “normal” – and still, they smile. Instead of bemoaning my petty issues, I found myself praying for each of these sweet kids, their families, and countless others that they represent.

The truth is we all have issues. Some may be going through situations a lot more serious than others, but we all experience our share of difficulty. Jesus Himself told His disciples that they would have trouble in this world, but then He added: “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In other words, no matter what we’re going through or what difficulties we may face, we can still be encouraged because of Christ and what He has already done. He has overcome the world. He has won the victory!

So what does that mean to me personally? When I’m sick, when everyone has turned against me, when someone dies, when I’m discouraged and just feel like throwing in the towel? How can I be of good cheer? How does Christ’s victory over the world change what I’m going through right now? Perhaps we can glean a little understanding from what Jesus told the disciples just prior to the above exchange about trouble.

The disciples were fearful because Jesus was talking about leaving them. He had told them about the persecution they would face from being put out of the synagogue to even death. Although they knew something of denial and suffering as they had walked with Jesus, He had been with them. But now Jesus said He was leaving. How could that be good? The disciples could not understand how Jesus’ leaving could be better than His physical presence with them.

Jesus’ leaving, however, meant much to His disciples – but not just to those early disciples who walked and talked with Him, but to believers like you and me as well.

1. When Jesus left, He gave us a Helper, the Holy Spirit. While we may not have Christ’s physical presence with us, we have the Spirit dwelling in us, leading, guiding, teaching, encouraging, helping, strengthening, and comforting us. And even more, it is His Spirit in the believer who can witness to unbelievers, convicting and convincing them of the truth about sin, righteousness, and judgment.

“But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

(John 6:5-11)

2. When Jesus left, He gave us direct, full access to our Heavenly Father. Jesus provided forgiveness for our sins through His death on the cross and now is with the Father interceding for us. We can go directly to the Father, fully assured of His love and acceptance because of what Jesus did for us.

“26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.”

(John 16:26-27)

 

3. When Jesus left, He secured peace for all believers in Him. This is not a peace that we try to “muster” or find or earn. This is a peace that comes straight from the Father and that passes all human understanding. This is the peace that guards and keeps the believer even during difficult times – it is a gift from God that cannot be explained. It is a peace that the world cannot know.

“27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

(John 14:27)

4. When Jesus left, He overcame the world and He made us victors, too. The sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross secures eternal life for all believers. No matter the struggles we go through on this earth, we can be of good cheer because Christ has overcome all the pain and agony we know here on earth and one day we, too, will be released from our mortal bodies and fully realize our victory in Christ.

“10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

(Romans 8:10-11)

After Jesus talked with His disciples about leaving, He asked them: “Do you now believe?” (see John 16:31). The truth is that all believers, regardless of the troubles we face, can be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world. Because of His victory, we can be victors, too. But we have to believe. If I don’t believe it won’t make much difference when troubles come, when I suffer or face loss. But if I believe, I can become a conqueror, too, as I allow His presence within me to help me and as I trust everything to Him, knowing that the trials I face today are only temporary and that one day I’ll know the fully victory I have in Jesus. May we all truly believe!

“17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

(2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

 

 

 

 

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