In a world marred by sin, life often seems to be marked by the catchphrase, “Two steps forward and one step back.” This phrase points to the truth that forward progress in life is summed up in a single word: DIFFICULT!
This difficulty, or course, is what every Christian has been promised as the pathway to heaven.
I have told you these things, so that in my you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Life is marked by trials, tribulations, and countless unexpected twists and turns in the road. Jesus painted the picture of what it means to be His disciple with absolute precision. He never shaded the truth to draw larger crowds; He made it crystal clear that life would be an uphill climb all the way into glory.
Here is the truth—the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; you are always in one of these three phases of life:
- Heading into a storm
- In the middle of a storm
- Coming out of a storm
Think about it for a minute; personal experience testifies that this is true for all of us. Yet the Bible also makes it clear that, with every setback, God is setting things up for our comeback.
In His glorious “I have overcome the world” promise above, Jesus also gives us a divine imperative—“Take heart!”—and then explains why we should. Jesus has overcome all things, and that includes every setback we face in life.
As a pastor, one of the testimonies that I’ve heard repeated most often from the people I serve is how much they profited from the seeming setback they encountered in their walk with Christ. Not only were they aware that God sent the setback into their life, they knew God was in it with them! And in the middle of the setback, He was setting them up for a comeback.
So regardless of where this finds you today, whether riding the crest of the wave in a season of great success, or buried under the waves of challenge, know that Jesus is with you. Perhaps one of the best verses we can commit to memory comes from the inspired pen of James.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Perseverance must finish its work. Christian, because you are reading this today, it is an undeniable truth that God has not finished His work in you yet. If He had, you would be with Him in glory! Through every setback you face, our loving Heavenly Father is making you mature and complete, not lacking anything, so that you may put Him on display and point the world to the One who sought you, caught you, and bought you with His precious blood.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!