“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." – John 16:33 (NKJV)
Reading the passage above, two words jumped out at me: may and will. In this passage, Jesus says that in Him, we may have peace, but in the world we will have tribulation. I don’t know about you, but these two words caught my attention; because I realize that the word may is a probability, i.e. not definite or guaranteed, while the word will is definite and guaranteed.
These two words caught my attention even more so, when I realize that this was Jesus talking; as it relates to me having peace in Him. And what He’s saying is that my peace in Him is not guaranteed. At least so it seems! Yet tribulation in the world is guaranteed and unavoidable!
I know, you, like me, would rather the statement was switched around to read, “In me, you will have peace, and in the world, you may have tribulation.”
Now, that will be more comforting to know that in Christ my peace is guaranteed, while my tribulation is a probability. But that’s NOT what the passage says! So, as much as I’ll like to make it read the way I want it to read, I can’t add to or subtract from the Bible; and neither can you. Revelation 22:18-19 talks about what would happen to a person that does something like that.
So, why did Jesus guarantee our tribulation and not our peace in this world?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because our peace is contingent on us, than it is on Jesus. What do I mean by this? Though as Christians, we have the victory in Christ, and thus the resulting peace from the victory, but exercising or experiencing this peace is something we will have to do. That’s why Jesus says, “In me you may have peace.” We may have that peace only IF we keep our mind stayed on Him, i.e., meditate on His Word, and not our situations or circumstances.
Peace, as you may already know, is not the absence of trouble or tribulation, but a calmness or serenity in the midst of trouble or tribulation!
Prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah 26:3 “You (God) will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” That is perfect peace, not just ordinary peace! Prophet Isaiah, in this passage is saying that if we trust the Lord, then we’ll keep our mind (or meditate) on His Word; and as a result have the peace of God, which surpasses human understanding. God’s Word is what’s going to keep us in perfect peace when we saturate our minds with it.
Notice also in this passage that Prophet Isaiah uses the word will, not may. That is to say that our peace is guaranteed IF we keep our mind stayed on the Lord, i.e., meditate on His Word and do what it says.
Therefore, when difficult situations arise -- and you know they will, because Jesus warns us about the guaranteed tribulations -- we can saturate our minds with God’s Word, rather than with the situations. The difference between depression and peace of mind or sanity and insanity is what we allow to occupy our minds. If our situation is what occupies our mind, no doubt we will be depressed and not have peace. But if God’s Word is what occupies our minds, we will have peace. That is a guarantee!
Now I understand why Jesus said that we may have peace in Him, because He wasn’t sure if we’d keep our mind stayed on Him or His Word, or on our situations. In essence, our peace is dependent on us. It’s contingent on what we meditate on; whether our situations or God’s Word.
However, the first step to having the peace Jesus promised is getting to know the Prince of Peace (if you don’t know Him); i.e., make Him the Lord and Savior of your life. Then know, memorize and meditate on God’s Word, do and be God’s Word. You can’t meditate on what you don’t know; that’s why it’s important that you know God’s Word. So, the first step is knowing what God says about you, and any particular situation in your life.
Then memorize some passages that may apply to that situation, and meditate on those passages. It’s one thing to know, memorize and meditate, it’s another thing, to apply or demonstrate what you know.
To simplify the process, here are the steps to peace:
a. Know the Prince of Peace -- make Him your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10)
b. Know God’s Word -- the Bible (Psalm 63:1; Psalm 119:103)
c. Memorize God’s Word (Psalm 119:11)
d. Meditate on God’s Word (Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:15; Philippians 4:8)
e. Live or apply and become God’s Word – the living epistle read by all men. (James 1:22; 2 Corinthians 3:2-3)
When do you do this? NOW! Even if you think that you don’t have a problem now, you should still get to know the Prince of Peace (if you don’t know Him). Then get to know, memorize, meditate and apply God’s Word. You don’t have to wait until you have a situation come up in your life. Like a wise man once said, the time to learn to swim is not when you are drowning.
This Christmas, let the Prince of Peace come into your heart and dwell.
Speaking of Christmas, it’s Jesus’ birthday, and He deserves a gift – you returning back to Him! The best gift you can give Jesus is yourself! And if you’ve already given yourself to Jesus, then give Jesus to others. Therefore, this Christmas season, let the peace of Jesus Christ keep your heart and mind.