By Toni Ford
January 1, 2020 marked the beginning of a brand-new decade. Many people were hopeful and excited about what the new decade could bring.
We’re now six months in, and many folks are wondering if things can get any worse and worrying if what has passed thus far could be an indicator of what’s yet to come. Within the last six months, the world has experienced fires, swarms of locust, floods, a pandemic known as the coronavirus and the death of George Floyd. In John 16:33, we read, “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.” In many ways it seems as if this verse is quickly becoming the theme verse for the year 2020. Jesus spoke these words to the people over 2,000 years ago, and it seems even more accurate for us today. He never promised that life would be easy and even described our times on earth as “troubled,” but He also promised that in the midst of troubled times, we can have peace!
Some may ask, how or where can we find that kind of peace, because we know the things of this world has not and will not bring consistent and everlasting peace. In John 3:1-21, we find a man named Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee and known as a “teacher of the Jews.” Pharisees lived by the strictest possible religious rules and yet Nicodemus was on a quest for truth. He was a man of high moral character and deep religious hunger and yet suffered from profound spiritual blindness. Nicodemus went to find Jesus one night so he could ask him some questions. Some think he went at night so he could have uninterrupted time alone with Jesus to talk, while others say Nicodemus went at night because of his position as a Jewish religious leader, which means that he already “should have” had all the answers to his questions when it pertained to religion or the Scripture. Regardless, Nicodemus was seeking truth, truth he hoped that could lead to a greater peace.
In the third chapter of John beginning in verse 10, we read where Jesus begins to answer Nicodemus and his questions. “Jesus replied, ‘You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you do not understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you will not believe our testimony. But if you do not believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? For God so loved the world, so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. The judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near if for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so that others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
This, my friends, is the real truth, the only truth that can lead us to the eternal and everlasting peace, regardless of what is going on around us here on earth. Here is more truth: Jesus says that God loves the entire world and He gave His Son for everyone. He created each of us, so of course, He loves ALL skin colors and has no favorites!
However, God also created us to have a free will, which means that He allows us to make our own choices. With those choices come consequences, either good or bad, but results usually follow the choices we make. If I choose to eat a bag of M&Ms every day, I know what the consequence will be. But if I choose to exercise each day, I have a different consequence. Jesus tells us that if we choose to believe and follow Him, we will receive eternal life in Him and that is our peace. But if we choose to follow the evil things of this world and do not turn and repent, we will miss out on His peace and not receive eternal life.
Do we mess up along the way even as believers? Absolutely! We will never be perfect until we get to heaven one day and are with our Lord. The difference is when we do mess up and sin, we repent and return right back to Him. It is a heart issue and is the reason why God said in 1 Samuel 16:7, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Lord, may our eyes and focus be on You and may we be the first to look within to see what we need to change within us. Thank you for being the only real truth and peace!
If you would like me to join you in prayer please email me at email@example.com. I would love to pray for you!