“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
It was a rough week. What could go wrong, did go wrong. I was lamenting my woes to a family member over the phone and expressing my dismay over the way life was treating me when he suddenly asked a question I have never forgotten: “I thought you were a Christian, Toni?”
“I am,” I replied.
“Then why are you so upset over these things? I thought a Christian was supposed to find joy in everything, regardless of the circumstances?”
You could have knocked me over with a feather! I was speechless for a moment, said a quick “help me know what to say Lord” prayer, then stumbled my way through an explanation he seemed to appreciate and understand. Whew!
This uninformed view of Christianity is, for many, a skewed image of what becoming a Christian truly means. Some believe we are magically transformed into perfect, sinless people who are never to experience pain or heartache again. In the face of pain and suffering, we are to smile, forgive, let go, be healed and rejoice! And if we don’t, we are hypocrites. If we have a human moment and fall short of godliness, we are worse than hypocrites, we are Christian hypocrites and the reason they will never step foot in a church again!
Sadly, I’ve witnessed a few televangelists claim that if we have true faith, we will never get depressed or make mistakes (sin). If we have true faith, anything we ask in the name of Jesus will be granted, regardless of what it is! If we have true faith, we will always be healed and never suffer! Those types of sermons are usually followed by the dreaded plea for more money to continue the work of the Lord. Ugh!
I, like you, would love my faith in God to miraculously transform me into painless perfection, but as our lead Scripture tells us, in this world, we will have trouble!
When Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” it was to warn us about the evil that lurks around every corner, doing its best to take us away from our faithful relationship with Him. Trouble does not come from the Lord, but the Lord helps us overcome our troubles.
Those who think we must be perfect when becoming a Christian run for the hills because they think this means giving up all things fun and adventurous. Then there are those who think faith isn’t all it’s cracked up to be because they’ve witnessed devout Christians suffer and even die while fervently praying for healing.
Many will ask, “If God wants me to give up my fun and adventurous life and won’t take care of me when I ask Him to, why become a Christian? Since the Bible says we will still have trouble, then why bother? Who wants more trouble?”
Faith in God does not give us a non-stick coating that makes stress, sorrow, and pain slip off and fall way. Our faith in God does, however, allow us a safe place to land, with a loving Father who holds us close while life’s difficulties try to bring us down.
My relationship with Jesus is what brings me joy and helps me over life’s hurdles. Since Jesus took on the sin of the world, but even more personally, took on my sin, why would I not love Him? Why would I not give Him my utmost respect and admiration for securing my place in heaven?
My faith in God is not predicated on what He does or does not do for me. My faith is based on a loving relationship that provides help and comfort, but not always the way I desire it. The love and respect I have for my Creator is what drives me to want to be a better me every day. If you were to offer me a million dollars to go back and re-live the past 30 plus years as a non-Christian, I would not take it! Nothing compares to life in Christ!
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
If you were asked the same question I was asked, how would you respond? Whether you are a new Christian or a seasoned veteran, I encourage you to always be ready with your statement of faith. Your response does not have to be flowery or full of memorized Scripture, just from your heart. Why do you love Jesus?
Father God, thank You for Jesus! Thank You for allowing me to live my life as a Christian who knows where she’s going when she dies. Please, please touch the hearts and minds of those I love who still don’t understand this gift of salvation and grace. I love You more than words can fully express. In the matchless name of my Lord, Savior and Friend, amen.
In His embrace,
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