“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” John 16:33a
This statement comes after some pretty heavy and confusing conversations between Jesus and the disciples. Jesus told them in the previous chapter that we must abide in Him. That’s a good foundation, because right after that He talks about how the world will hate his disciples. In this chapter Jesus talks about how he’s going to go away from them. But He will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit will guide them to all truth. Then He tells the disciples that they will abandon Him, but He won’t be alone because the Father is with Him.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b
Every one of us is very aware of the trouble we have in this world. Sometimes we are nagged by it, other times it just slaps us right in the face. Sometimes we see it coming and it builds, other times it comes seemingly out of nowhere. But it always comes. That much we can count on.
We can take heart! Jesus has overcome the world. We know the end of the story, and there is victory! Very encouraging!
So what do we do now in the middle of the story? Do we hide in a corner and wait? After all, it’s pretty scary out there…. I don’t think so! Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the armor of God.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6: 10-13 (NIV)
Then we get the visuals. Remember the poster in Sunday School?
Belt of truth
Breastplate of righteousness
Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
Shield of faith
Helmet of salvation, and the
Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I can hear God telling me that while I can surely have peace, I still need to be actively fighting, not against other people but against the powers of darkness that rule this planet. Peace while I’m fighting? Only possible with the armor of God!