Is the Normal Christian Life a Peaceful Life, a Troubled Life, or Both?
Summary: Will the Christian life be nonstop peace? No. Will it be nothing but trouble? Again, no. Jesus promised His followers something in between those extremes. He told us to expect troubles in our life in this fallen world. But He encouraged us, when in the midst of those troubles, to look to Him for His peace and His power by which He has overcome for us this troubled world.
John 16:33 “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.”
• Jesus clearly told His followers that “in this world you will have trouble.” Different translations speak of this in similar words: “tribulation, trials, distress, frustration, affliction, suffering, sorrows, difficulties,” and the like. If that’s all you take from this verse, you are likely to become very pessimistic about life on this planet.
• But notice Jesus’ words just before and after predicting these troubles. Immediately before His prediction of worldly difficulties, Jesus promised that “In Me you may have peace.” Troubles in the world; peace in Jesus while we are in this troubled world.
• And right after prophesying hard times for us in this life, Jesus exhorted us: “Take heart! I have overcome the world."
• So what we are hearing from Jesus is this: “Yes, this world will bring have its troubles, and you will experience some. But in all of that, come to Me and I will give you peace! The world and its troubles cannot overcome you, because I have overcome the world.”
• Look at the verse again. “Sandwiched” on both side of the troubles prediction is the promise of Christ’s peace and His overcoming power.
2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
• The apostle Paul warns us that, if you determine to live a godly life, you will experience persecution. The light in your life will expose the darkness around you, and some of those who love that darkness will persecute you in return.
• But Paul’s prediction of persecution must not discourage you from living a godly life. Instead, remember Jesus’ promise to you of His peace and His overcoming power. Live godly and be the victor, even when evil intentions come against you.
Matthew 11:28-29, NASB “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
• In this troubled world, do you sometimes (maybe even right now) feel “weary and heavy-laden”? Are you carrying burdens that often seem too big to bear?
• Then come to Jesus, call on Him in prayer. He promises to respond to you from His gentle and humble heart and give you rest for your soul.
• As Jesus promised in our opening Scripture, there will inevitably come troublesome times, when you feel weary, beaten down, bearing seemingly impossible burdens and pressures. In those times you have a gracious, loving Savior calling you to draw close to Him for His promised provision of comfort and rest.
• Don’t forget to do this! When you are heavily bent down under troubles, burdens, or stress, turn your focus upon Jesus. As the great old hymn says,
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
• Troubles will happen, said Jesus. So will suffering. Is suffering always bad? No.
• Our gracious God may allow us to “suffer a little while,” so that afterward He can not only restore us, but also “make us strong, firm, and steadfast.” In other words, there can be a divine purpose in allowing us to experience temporary times of suffering. And that purpose is to strengthen us, to make us firmer and more steadfast in our walk with Him.
• Again, if hard times come in the form of suffering, come to Jesus. Come boldly to His throne of grace to find grace to help you in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
John 10:28-30 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
• You are very secure as long as you remain in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ whom you serve. Very secure!
• Not only has He given eternal life to those who repent of their sins and turn to Him in faith, He also keeps us secure in that salvation. He states unequivocally that no one can snatch the one serving God out of the Father’s hand. Nor can we be snatched out of Jesus’ hand. Those are two mighty safe hands to be protected in!
• So when temporary troubles come your way, remember where you are in the scope of eternity — safe in the hands of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Keep serving God, keep serving His Son, and no one and no thing can snatch you away from the goodness of God.
Revelation 21:3-5a And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
• This life’s pain, sorrow, and even death will be no more! In its place will be the everlasting, glorious presence of God the Father and His Son Jesus with the redeemed of all ages.
• Treasure that promise as you face this life’s ups and down, its joys and its sorrows. Hold fast to Jesus’ promise that He will be your source of peace and overcoming power during hard times in this fallen world. And remember always that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).