“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”
John 16:33 (TPT)
Jesus spoke these words to his disciples just before being taken into custody to complete the mission for which he was sent. Jesus reassured his disciples that even though they would witness and experience horrific things, they would never be alone. Jesus taught these twelve ordinary men the higher ways of God, while transforming their minds from physical to spiritual Warriors for Christ. He taught them to pray, love, trust and obey God with all their heart, soul, and mind. He showed them how to be bold and courageous, and to love their neighbor as themselves.
Jesus broke with traditions and the old ways. He encouraged them to forgive and love their enemies. Even though they did not fully understand all they were taught, Jesus knew it would all come together, and they would eventually fulfill their specific mission. Even though Jesus was their living example of God, they didn’t fully understand how things were going to work out. But Jesus knew they would be obedient and share the Gospel Message of hope to a lost and hopeless world.
Whether you say it is good vs evil, right vs wrong, or love vs hate, when we compare the ways of the world with God’s ways, they are almost always polar opposites. What’s right in the sight of God seems to repulse the world. Yet, for a season, what’s wrong in the sight of God fans the flames of fame and power! It is as though we have closed His Holy Word and begun reasoning our decisions emotionally, selfishly, and devoid of God.
With a whopping 3.9 billion copies sold in the last fifty years, the Bible is easily the best-selling book of all time. With that being said, does anyone still read the Word of God? Perhaps you no longer see the Bible as relevant, I mean, it was written over two thousand years ago. Or, maybe you depend on others to read it and interpret it for you. I have heard some pick and choose the parts of the Bible they like and discard the rest. Here’s the only thing that matters, do you regularly read and study your Bible?
The Bible is your road map, no, a blue- print to build your best life. It is a narrative of how to…walk by faith, love others, have a relationship, be courageous, be bold, learn forgiveness, experience peace, joy and so much more! It is all in the Book. But it must not be a table decoration or sit on a shelf, it must be read, studied, and applied to life!
This love letter to the world tells the stories of faithful people throughout history who obeyed God and sacrificed their lives as trailblazers for the sake of Christ. It also offers warnings to the world through the lives of those who chose a disobedient path. The Bible provides specific directions on how to live, acknowledging quite clearly what offends God.
For those unaware, we must pick which side we are on. Sadly, many may not realize their plight. It does not require a PHD in religious studies to understand rebellion is rampant. So how do I know which way is right? Let’s see what the Bible says about our options.
In the first half of John 10:10 we read about satan’s mission and only purpose in this world, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;” So my first question would be, “why would a person follow satan and not God?”
In the second part of John 10:10 we read about Jesus’ purpose in the world, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The choice is clear, life with Jesus or death with satan.
I do not want to give satan one more word, but the people should know the enemy they face. He is not a comedian in a red devil suit, he is more powerful than any man. But he is not anywhere close to the power of God. The father of lies best trick is convincing people, including Christians, that he doesn’t exist. In fact, most Christians do not believe in satan but 97% believe in angels. Satan is a cheap copycat; he cannot create anything, so he uses what God creates and twists it a hair off kilter to persuade people in his direction.
Satan is filled with hatred and ruthless in holding grudges. He is a liar and a thief. John 8:44 boldly calls out satan and his followers, “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Overcoming satan begins when the word of God abides in you. Even Jesus used the Word when tempted by the devil. James 4:7 reminds us, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
We find comfort in God’s radiance and love. In I John 4:7-8 in contrast to satan’s hatred, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because god is love.”
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.” 2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NLT)
It would be easy to give up on those around you behaving badly, but instead, pray for them. Jesus only sees two types of people. Those he has saved and those he wants to save!