Faith Brings Peace and Joy that Overcomes our Circumstance
The Root to the Fruit = love
Romans 5:3: “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
If you’ve ever gone through a challenging situation, you know that someone telling you to persevere sounds a whole lot easier than it really is in practicality – especially when you’re setting out to do it on your own. The truth is, when we turn the situation over to the Holy Spirit living in us, it’s in many ways a whole different ball game. On our own, it’s like we’re struggling just to make it to first base, but in His spirit and by the power of His might, we make it to first, then second, then third, then finally, we slide into home plate!!
God’s Word declares we are more than overcomers in Christ (Rom 8:37). Being IN CHRIST is the key…to me this doesn’t only mean being saved, or considering ourselves to be in relationship with God, because there are many Christians who have not seen the overcoming power of Christ in their lives, so that must mean there is more for us to get here than just declaring we are a Christian. John 15:4 immediately comes to mind: “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
What this speaks to me is that when we’re going through something, facing a challenging situation, circumstance, person, doctor’s report, repeated failure, whatever it may be…that it’s when we abide in Christ through the gift of His Holy Spirit living in us that we will actually experience the overcoming power and see the fruit of that produced in our lives.
The practical application of “abiding in Him”, or what that “looks like” is really no different than any other given day is meant to in the life of a believer. It’s about casting our cares up to The Lord and not letting them stay in our hearts where they try to trouble us, discourage us, or bring us down. Instead, we are meant to make an exchange with God (that’s what we do through prayer). We exchange our thoughts for His, and we’re meant to do this on a daily basis.
When Jesus hung on the cross, he was faced with the greatest challenge of all (and “challenge” isn’t even a word that really does justice in describing the magnitude of what He faced on our behalf). Yet, he faced it. However, He didn’t overcome death by His own will power. He didn’t take on the sins of the world in His own strength…instead, He sweat great drops of blood Luke 22:44.
Let’s see what Jesus experienced in His greatest trial and how He responded prior to seeing the manifestation of victory:
Luke 22:44: “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Luke 23:46: “And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last. 47Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’…”
In His greatest trial, Jesus committed Himself to The Father, just like He always had. It was no different for him then than it was on a daily basis.
John 5:19 gives us a picture of this daily commitment and what it looks like to abide in the Lord and to have Him abide in you: “Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does…” Jesus was used to being reliant upon The Father and His Holy Spirit to lead Him in every way and to empower Him to do what God had called Him to do.
Dying on the cross wasn’t the end of the story for Jesus, but instead it was the beginning of the birthing of the church, of you and I, and it was His greatest victory. His greatest trial produced His greatest victory.
On His own, He could have done nothing, so his circumstance was no different than ours in the sense that we are ALL reliant on the supernatural strength that comes from God alone to really walk the walk and live the life of victory and fulfillment God has promised us.
When we abide in Him, and He abides in us (through the Holy Spirit) we bear much good fruit, as John 15:4 says. This is a promise for us to cling to with expecting hearts as we put our faith, hope, and trust in The Lord who is not a man that He should lie. Rest assured that when you are truly abiding in Him, you WILL bear much fruit! But also recognize the fruit comes from the Holy Spirit living in you, not from your own efforts or works. Whatever we do that produces fruit, are the actions that accompany our faith in the one who has spoken into our hearts. So, we commit our spirit to Him, not only in word, but in deed. We commit to His thoughts, rather than our own when we face those challenges before us. We commit to His way, rather than our own way, to His emotions, rather than our own emotions. We commit to Him, and He is love.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 LOVE NEVER FAILS.
Even the most committed people can often give up and get discouraged along the way…but God’s desire and promise for us as we abide in Him, is that we will live in peace and joy even a midst circumstances as we’re persevering, exercising patience, etc.
He wants us to have success! He wants us to overcome! And He’s already done the work on our behalf through Christ. Now our part is to live by the Spirit, just as Jesus did, and follow after The Father’s heart, just like Jesus did, and in doing so, we will experience one victory after another lest we not give up!
Proverbs 13:12 says: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
We’re not only meant to live in joy and peace when we have no challenges before us, but instead, when we abide in the Spirit, and He abides in us, we live in joy and peace continually, even when when we’re “in the middle of a rock and a hard place,” “facing a giant” or “everything in the natural looks impossible.”
We live in joy and peace because HE IS our joy and peace and our steadfast hope in Him produces confidence and assurance that God is faithful to do that which He promises to do!
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thess 5:24)
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.