This morning had me pondering the different ways we’re taught in books, Bible studies, preachers and devotionals to take today’s Scripture: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Oswald Chambers said, “The typical view of the Christian life is that it means being delivered from all adversity. But it actually means being delivered in adversity, which is something very different.” “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps 91:1).
If you are a child of God, you will certainly encounter adversities, but Jesus says you should not be surprised when they come. Jesus told us that “in the world you will have tribulation”, so we shouldn’t be surprised when trials and tribulations come. He told us this so that instead of falling into fear, we would instead have His peace and “be of good cheer” because He overcame the world!
God does not give us an overcoming life–He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. Are you asking God to give you life, liberty, and joy? He cannot, unless you are willing to accept the strain. And once you face the strain, you will immediately get the strength. Jesus taught this lesson after He taught that we must continually abide in Him. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
We are not the overcomers as many claim, but only Jesus. He will give us the ability to bear fruit for His kingdom if we abide in Him, who is THE overcomer! We will not be given His strength unless we continue to abide in Him. We are to walk in faith not by sight, so we are to overcome our own timidity and take the first step. Then God will give us nourishment. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” (Rev 2:7)
If we completely give of ourselves physically, we become exhausted. But when we give of ourselves spiritually, we gain more strength. God doesn’t give us strength for tomorrow, or even the next hour, but only for the strain of the moment. Why? Because our temptation is to face adversities from the standpoint of our own common sense. But a saint can “be of good cheer” even when seemingly defeated by adversities, because victory is absurdly impossible to everyone, except God! “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Tim 1:17)