How to get ready for a troubled world (cont’d)
Yes, the world is full of woes. But, does that mean that we can’t live life to the fullest? I refuse to believe that.
When Jesus taught and prepared His disciples about their futures before His arrest, He not only warned them about what to expect but He also gave them three key assurances.
First, He gave His peace (John 16: 33). Then, He gave His joy, praying “… so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17: 13). Thirdly, He prays for them to be united with Him and the Father — “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (John 17: 22-23).”
Peace, joy and unity in Him! With these, would our problems weigh so heavily upon us that we can’t live life to the fullest? If they do, then we are not appropriating faith in Him to live! The apostles and early Christians lived under threat. How were they able to do this? I think they understood what it means to have peace, joy and unity in Christ.
I wrote about His peace in the first post of this series. I’ll talk about joy and unity here.
His joy is not an unrealistic state of denial in the face of adversity. It is not joy when a thief breaks into our home, and we smilingly welcome him in, saying “come in, come in, take whatever you want!” That is plain stupidity!
The joy of the Lord is something else. It is the silver lining in the problem. And, we experience it when we live. Many Christians don’t experience this joy because we are not living life to the fullest. We want blessings — only to indulge, but not to live. With blessings, we passively receive. To live, we have to act, become active agents of His life and love in our world. We seize each day by faith, doing everything we can and want to do in that day. As we do it, we will experience His joy. We don’t do because it is expected of us; we do because we want to, and so are fulfilled.
We won’t know that joy if we sit back and wait for God to do things for us. That is not living; that is indulging or just being spiritually lazy! The major symptom of spiritual laziness is our inability to get past our troubles. So, we find a niche of comfort and stay there and don’t step out in faith. When we can’t step out in faith, we can’t live. We survive, but not live. Living also means risks and confronting dangers, which, in Him, we face bravely.
Living in Him won’t get us down, because Jesus came to give life, and life to the full. He says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10: 10)”.
Until we get past our woes and are resolved, we will never fully enjoy the life He has for us. In their time, Jesus’ apostles and disciples were resolved. They knew who they were and they were united with Him and by extension with the Father, too. So, they moved forward in faith, peace and joy accepting whatever the life before them. As a result, the world saw who He really is and believed.
When we live in Him each day, our tomorrows appear less forbidding. Today, we can live fully in Him in faith, peace, joy and unity. Tomorrow is just another day of life in Him.
May His peace, joy and unity be with you!