My better half and I were able to visit Pastor Kent Clark's church again today. His message was on 2 Corinthians 5:17
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
He then explained and reminded his listeners that we still have the old dying flesh hanging on, and that no matter what we do, or how much we convince ourselves of otherwise, we still do wrong, we still continue to fall short of God's glory. The difference is that now (if we are saved), when we do wrong (which is several times a day, if we are honest) we feel terrible about it because now when we are in Christ, we hate the sin that we do (cross reference with what Paul says in the book of Romans). But, the pastor said, we need to rejoice when we feel terrible, because it is a sign that we are truly saved.
"Let not your heart be troubled..." (John ch. 14) doesn't mean we have to manufacture a "trouble free" existence. That would be impossible here on this fallen planet. It means that even in the midst of all our trouble, we know that we are saved, and that God loves us ANYWAY, and that this is a source, actually THE ONLY source of our comfort.
We must not fall for flattering words that rely on self or other people to feel better (however our flesh will lie to us and tell us that IS what we need). We need only to rely on the fact that Jesus overcame much more trouble than we will ever face, and now He will see us through our troubles. Then we can face anything and not be fearful.
That is a comforting thought indeed. And it is the ONLY comforting thought that will see us through all the storms of life, our anchor in our times of storm. Any other words of comfort, although they sound nice, are like empty calories. They taste great at the moment, but really provide no real nourishment.
Let us share the bitter cup of Jesus suffering. He promised that all who follow Him will likewise suffer and will suffer rejection and we must not be surprised when it happens. When it happens, we have the peace that surpasses our fleshy understanding. It comes from Him as He helps us just as He helped Daniels 3 friends in the fiery furnace, and also helped the apostles when they were tossed about in a tiny boat on a raging sea. He is with us always, through good times and bad, happy and sad. When we are at our lowest is when He does His most miraculous work in our lives. When we are feeling our worst is when He looks even better than ever. This world is passing away, but Jesus and His word will NEVER pass away.
How opposite is that to what "Christian" churches teach today? They say we should have the kind of peace and joy that our flesh wants us to have. Is that what the Bible says? Should we hide from trouble so we can display a peace that seems convincing? So that others will compliment us on our "fruits of the Spirit:? Or do we face boldly those things we fear and know that the Lord is with us, that He is calming our fears even while we boldly proclaim the truth of HIS word to a lost and dying world?
We are not able, but HE is able