2 Chronicles 25-27 John 16
“I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.” (John 16:33 NCV)
One of the promises of Jesus that we don’t like is that we’ll have trouble in this world. We want to get along with everyone. We want people to like us. We want to be invited to hang out with the guys, or the girls, and spend carefree, good times with our friends and relatives. If we stay committed to our relationship with Jesus, though, we’re going to find ourselves in trouble. We’ll be in trouble because the ways of the world are not the ways of Jesus. The world looks out for number one (themselves), Jesus seeks out the least of these. The world seeks the best place, Jesus tells us to take the lowest place. The world seeks honor, Jesus seeks service. Jesus never tells us to avoid trouble, He encourages us to be brave in the face of it. Our courage comes not from our own ability, though, it comes because He has faced the worst the world has to offer and emerged victorious.
One of my common reactions when people ask me how I’m doing, or even more specifically, “are you staying out of trouble?” is to say that I’m staying in trouble. It would be nice if I could say I started doing that for spiritual reasons, but honestly, I started saying that for contrarian reasons. People don’t expect that, and they laugh. They may wish me luck getting out of trouble. As I think about it, maybe that answer is a better answer than I originally thought. Maybe my problem isn’t that I’m in trouble too often, it’s that I’m not in trouble, the right kind of trouble, often enough. It’s too easy for me to go along to get along with the world. I agree with injustice because of I’m silent when I should speak. I miss opportunities to be silent by joining a chorus speaking out in way that’s contrary to God’s plan. I shrink from confrontation when I should be bold in proclaiming righteousness. I cause controversy and hurt when I don’t choose my words carefully. In short, I’m willing to do what the world expects me, and everyone else, to do so that I can avoid getting into trouble. One of my favorite quotes from a professor ever is that “the problem with Christians is that no one wants to kill them anymore.” We need to stir the pot in a way that honors God. Scared to do that? Join the club, then take heart that Jesus has defeated the world.
I don’t know why I seek approval from the world, Lord, when I have Your love to watch over and guide me. Let me be so in tune with you that I get in trouble with the world’s standards. Help me to live in the victory that You secured when You defeated the world.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.