“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33 (NASB)
One of the running jokes my family has of me is that I have, at times, exhibited the characteristics of the two dads from the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” The first one would be Cousin Eddie. He pretty sums me up before I came to Christ. The second would be Clark Griswold. I can really empathize with Clark too. He puts out a lot of effort to make holidays and vacations go smoothly for the family but when things go wrong, too many times, he vents his frustration in ways that makes eyes go wide. Apparently, I also seem to have this…characteristic.
There is one scene in the movie where it couldn’t be any better portrayed than when Clark catches his in-laws, packed and ready to leave the house. He stops them and then goes into a rant about pressing on, and that’s when Clark’s wife Ellen announces that, “I think its best that everyone just goes home…before things get worse.” To which Clark replies, “Worse? How could it get any worse? Take a look around Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell.” Now there are many other moments in this movie that are relatable to me, but there is the outstanding question, how could it get any worse? Well, to get away from the movie, we do live in a fallen world and we have been told that, even though we are in Christ, we will have tribulation.
As Jesus sat and ate with disciples, on the night He was gonna be betrayed, He gives them all one last session of lessons. From a foot washing to the breaking of bread, Jesus is equipping His disciples for the task ahead. Eventually Jesus will plainly say to them, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” It won’t be too long after this that Jesus Christ will be crucified on a Roman cross…how could it get any worse?
Well I don’t think that anything gets any worse than being crucified on a Roman cross. There isn’t even any room to put in a joke in there, but strangely enough that is what we need to remember Him by when we think of Jesus overcoming the world. Let’s face it, it appears that we’re living a ball of hate right now and it is showing no signs of letting up. When we look upon “this present evil world” the only thing to conquer it is the person of Jesus Christ. To borrow an observation from C.H. Spurgeon, “We are sojourners in an enemy country.” So, the best thing we can do is overcome. The apostle Paul says it best In the Book of Romans, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
And I really believe that the only way to truly renew your mind is found in those red letters of Jesus Christ. Simon Peter knew that as well, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life” (John 6:68). There isn’t a disappointing thing that Jesus Christ ever said, and if you were to think contrary to that you may need to check yourself against those red letters. The bottom line for all of us is to understand that the best way to overcome this present evil world is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. All the time, every time.
I also really believe that in His words you will find peace. Its pretty simple stuff, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17) The question “How could it get any worse?” has a simple answer for those who know this as truth but for those who do not…yeah it could get worse. Life is filled with chaos and if you have chosen not to know Him you will not know peace.
As Resurrection Sunday approaches, let us be mindful on what was done on our behalf and rest in that blessed assurance. However, if you are not one of His people then I implore you to consider the option of a life that honors God, fills you with peace and has an understanding of a God that will neither leave you or forsake you. Once you come to know Jesus Christ, how could it get any worse? Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003), is married (Kathy) with two grown children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “If Christ has overcome the world at its worst, we who are in Him shall overcome the world too through the same power which dwelt in Him. He has put His life into His people, He has given His Spirit to dwell in them, and they shall be more than conquerors.” — Charles Haddon Spurgeon
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.