In this world you will have trouble…
Those may not be our favorite words in the Bible. But, like it or not, Jesus said them.
Some people think faith preachers don’t believe that. They think we teach that if you walk by faith you won’t have any problems at all. But we don’t. We are well aware of the fact that this world is full of trouble. And as long as we live in it, we’re going to face trouble, too.
The difference, however, between us and some other folks is this: We don’t stop there. We preach the rest of the story. We preach the other things Jesus said in that verse. He said, “‘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’” (John 16:33, New International Version).
Glory to God! Jesus said we could have peace in the midst of the troubles of this world. He said that in Him, we could overcome it!
Ken and I know from experience how true those words are. We’ve been walking with the Lord for a lot of years and we’ve faced some serious trouble during that time. We’ve faced financial trouble, sickness and disease, and challenges with our children.
We’ve encountered problems that, naturally speaking, we didn’t know the answer to.
But you know what? We found out that if we stuck with God and trusted what He said in His Word, He’d see us through. We found out that Jesus has defeated every foe that comes against us and when we follow Him, He leads us out of trouble and into victory every time.
We found out that in Him we truly do have peace.
A few years ago, I learned that the word peace (which is the word shalom in Hebrew) literally means “to be whole, or perfectly intact with nothing missing and nothing broken.” And the Bible tells us that in the Name of Jesus, we have a covenant of peace with God.
Think of it! Almighty God has made a blood covenant with us, promising to keep us whole and intact with nothing missing and nothing broken—right in the middle of this messed up, dangerous world.
A Case of Neglect
Why then, if we have this wonderful covenant of peace, are so many Christians living defeated, broken lives? Why do so many good, born-again believers fall prey to the destructions of this world when God has promised to deliver them?
I believe Hebrews 2 tells us. There we, as heirs of this covenant of salvation, are given some instructions.
Since all this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away. For if the message given through angels [the Law spoken by them to Moses] was authentic and proved sure, and every violation and disobedience received an appropriate (just and adequate) penalty, how shall we escape…if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation [as is now offered to us, letting it drift past us forever]?… (verses 1-3, The Amplified Bible).
We don’t have to do something terrible to find ourselves trapped in some kind of trouble with no way of escape. We don’t have to be in some kind of sin and rebellion against God. All we have to do is neglect what He has done for us.
According to Webster’s dictionary, the word neglect means “to ignore or disregard; to fail to care for or attend to sufficiently or properly; to fail to carry out through carelessness or by intention; leave undone.”
It’s easy to let spiritual things get away from you. Even though you may have been on fire and excited about the truths of God, they’ll slip away from you if you stop paying attention to them. If you don’t keep them in your eyes and in your ears, you can drift right back into unbelief.
As born-again children of God, we have a great salvation. But if we just get up in the morning, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch television and go to bed like natural people do, we’re going to suffer defeat and calamity right along with the rest of the world. If we get too busy with other things to pay proper attention to the things of God, we’ll miss out on the benefits of our salvation that are available to us while we are still in the earth. There are covenant benefits here as well as hereafter!
They’re Not Automatic
Exactly what are those benefits?
If you don’t know that answer, you won’t be able to experience the fullness of your salvation. After all, you can’t lay hold of the things God has provided if you don’t know what they are or that they belong to you.
To fully understand the benefits of your salvation, you need to continually read and study the Word of God. You’re not going to walk in victory without knowing what the Word says. Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
A good place to begin your understanding of salvation is by learning its meaning. Most believers think the word salvation simply means “to be saved from eternal damnation.” But it means much more than that.
The word salvation refers to deliverance from all kinds of evil—both temporal and eternal. It refers to spiritual and material preservation, deliverance from the fear of danger as well as pardon, restoration, healing, wholeness, and soundness in spirit, soul and body.
It’s true that when we are born again we are saved from the penalty of sin (Romans 5:9). Hallelujah, we’ve been delivered from hell and we’re headed for heaven!
But, that’s not all that’s included in our covenant of salvation. It also provides a life of freedom while we’re still here on earth.
It provides deliverance from the dominion of sin in this life (Romans 6:14). Thank God, we don’t have to sin anymore! We have been born of God and we have the power to live holy lives.
Psalms 91 tells us that God also promises to protect us from earthly dangers. It says we’ll be delivered from pestilence, which includes serious sickness and disease, famine, earthquakes and other calamities. It says we’ll be protected from sudden death that comes by the weapons of men. It promises us a long, satisfying life and deliverance from every kind of trouble that comes our way.
Those are wonderful promises, but they don’t operate in our lives automatically just because we’re Christians. They operate under specific conditions and verses 1-2 tell us what those conditions are:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! (The Amplified Bible).
Your Abiding Place
The first condition we see there is that of abiding in the Lord or staying consistently close to Him. If you aren’t consistent in your walk with the Lord, you won’t consistently see the promises in Psalms 91 coming to pass for you.
That’s not God’s fault. He always wants to deliver you, and be merciful and kind to you. He is willing. And He has the wonderful capacity to keep up with and bless all of us. We don’t have to look Him up when we need Him, because He’s always with us.
But He’s not like the devil who comes in and forces things on you. God won’t take over and make you do things His way. He won’t force His blessings on you.
He’ll do everything He can to get you to turn toward Him, but He won’t dominate you. He will reach out to you and wait for you to open the door of faith to Him.
How do you keep that door open? By giving God first place in your life. And you can’t do that and be a lazy Christian. Over and over again, the Bible tells us we must seek God first and foremost if we want His blessing in our lives. Seek is a scriptural word that means “to go after with intense effort.”
If you want to experience the fullness of this great salvation Jesus purchased for you, you have to exert consistent effort. Not just when it’s convenient. You can’t live a life of sin, neglecting the things you know to do, and then expect to turn to God when you need help.
Some people do that. They think, God took care of me last time when I wasn’t living right. So next time He’ll do the same thing.
That’s a dangerous attitude.
If you keep going in rebellion and stubbornness, you’ll get a hard heart. One of these days, you may find yourself unable to turn to God when you need help. Even if you can turn to Him, you may find you’re under so much condemnation in your own mind and heart that your faith won’t work.
“But I’m not rebelling,” you might say. “I’ve just been too busy lately to spend time in the Word or in prayer.”
Then you’d better simplify your life because you can’t spend your time on other things, filling your heart and your life with natural concerns, and expect to be strong in faith when trouble comes.
“Oh, but things are going fine right now.”
That may be true, but, as Jesus said, trouble is coming. When it does, it better find you doing what Psalms 91:1 says, abiding in the secret place of the Most High.
The word abide means “to dwell, remain fixed in a certain place.” If you abide somewhere, that’s where you live. I might stay at a hotel while I’m preaching a meeting, but I don’t abide there. I’m just there for a few days.
In John 15:7, Jesus said, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” I’ve found that if I’ll spend time every day in the Word of God, that Word will begin to abide in me. It will come alive in me and begin to speak to my heart continually.
I’m telling you, that’s a good thing. When you run into trouble and that abiding Word of God rises up to tell you what to do, you’ll be glad you weren’t a lazy Christian. You’ll be glad you made the Word your dwelling place.
Open Your Mouth and Shut the Devil Out
Look back at Psalms 91:2 and you’ll see the second way to keep yourself in condition to experience the fullness of your salvation. “I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!” (The Amplified Bible).
You give God authority to act in your life by trusting Him with your heart and speaking words of faith with your mouth. Jesus taught us that principle in Mark 11:22-23 when He said, “…Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”
The devil knows that truth so he tries to turn it around to work in his favor. He can’t come in and force things on you the way he can those who are unsaved and outside God’s covenant of protection. So he has to deceive you into giving him a place with your words—speaking words of fear and doubt.
Have you ever noticed that when you feel sick, the first thing you want to do is tell someone about it? If you have a problem, you want to talk about it. Somehow you think if you can say it, you’ll feel better.
That’s exactly what the devil wants you to do. But don’t do it!
Instead, when trouble comes, zip your lips. Don’t say anything about that situation until you’re centered on the Word of God and it’s in your heart in abundance.
Then when you open your mouth, you’ll be able to speak the Word. You’ll be able to say what God says about your situation—not just to yourself and your friends, but to the situation itself.
That’s right! Mark 11:23 says we speak to the mountain. That means we don’t talk about the problem. We talk to the problem!
We tell it what we want it to do. We tell it to be removed according to the Word of God.
It may sound strange, but it’s scriptural and it is a vital part of attending to our covenant of salvation. Remember: When we speak the Word of God, we shut the devil out and he doesn’t have any place to work.
It’s Not Too Late
You might be reading this and thinking, Gloria, all this is wonderful, but it’s too late for me. I’m already in trouble. I haven’t been walking with God, and there’s no way out.
If that’s your situation, let me encourage you. God is good. He is merciful.
Many times I’ve seen people call out to Him in situations that have gone so far there seems to be no solution. It looked like it was too late for those people. But it wasn’t. God still turned things around. He is kind and He is good!
If you will take your stand on the Word of God, and make a quality decision to give your life to Him, He can make a way where there seems to be no way. He’ll deliver you not because of what you’ve done, but because of what Jesus already did for you.
I’m not saying your problems will instantly disappear. But there can be an instant change. It will start on the inside of you—in your heart. If you’ll trust the Lord, you can have joy and peace on the inside even when things on the outside are challenging.
When you stick with Him, keep listening to His Word and obeying it, attending to this great covenant of salvation He has given you, day by day your life will change. If you’ll keep the door of faith open to God and give Him time to work, He will restore what the devil has stolen from you and repair what’s been broken. He wants you whole.
“Oh, but I’m not worthy!” you might say.
No, on your own you’re not. Neither am I. But Jesus is and we are in Him. Our righteousness is in Him. He lived and died and rose again so that we could be blessed with a covenant of peace.
Don’t let it slip away by neglecting it, and don’t let the trouble of this world overwhelm you. Instead, take heart…He has overcome the world. And in Him we have too!