One Hell of a Topic…

There’s been an idea on my heart for a little while. It ain’t an easy one though.

I feel, like I need to share a few thoughts on a particular place called hell.

We don’t really talk about hell these days. I guess it’s not a very popular topic. If we do bring it up, its normally just as part of a joke because no one can really handle the thought of it’s reality.

I think a lot of people, even Christians, deny it is actually a thing. We like to believe in a God that loves us and wants good for us and will send us all to heaven.

Unfortunately our own wishes don’t necessarily coincide with what is actually true. The Bible makes it pretty clear in multiple places that there is indeed such a thing as hell. And yes, people will be sent there.

There are a number of issues people have with hell and in particular, the one that probably stands out the most is why would a good God send his creations to a place of eternal suffering?

This is even an idea I have struggled with myself, especially when so many of my non-christian friends are such good people. Surely they don’t deserve that.

However, we have to remember, as much as God is love, God is also just. He is, himself, perfection and that’s a standard that not a single human being (apart from Jesus of course) can live up to. No-one can live a morally perfect life. Some are pretty good, but God is pure holiness and cannot tolerate any deviation from that. To do so would be against his character, the very fabric of who he is. If God is indeed who he says he is, completely pure and completely righteous, he cannot allow even the slightest rebellion. To do so would be unjust. God cannot and will not compromise.

This can be hard for us to get our heads around. Particularly because it also infers that every single one of us are destined for hell because we can’t live to a perfect moral standard. That’s not a comforting (or popular) thought.

The next question I suppose would be, what is hell then? We seem to all be destined for this place of ‘eternal punishment’ but most of the ideas of hell we have are from movies, games, books, you name it. I think when most of us think of hell we think of devils with pitchforks, flames and maybe even pizza.

The Bible definitely refers to hell as a “lake of fire” but whether that is literal or figurative no-one could really know. One thing is for sure, the devil doesn’t rule hell. There’s this kinda funny idea floating around that the devil and God are opposite equals and at the end of the world or whenever it is, they’ll retire back into their respective corners and be rulers there. This is not true. It’s made pretty clear that once this world ends, so does the reign of the devil and he’s going to be given a solid hiding from God. He won’t be ruling anything.

So far, we have clarified that there is indeed a hell and it might or might not have fire. We don’t know much else yet. The funny thing is, I think that’s kinda the thing about hell though. The whole deal with hell is less about what hell actually is and so much more about what it’s not.

You see, we were formed by a creative God with the intention of being in relationship with him. In him we find our identity. In him we find our purpose. When we live walking in step with him as Adam and Eve did in the early days in the Garden, just abiding in him, we are truly living. We are made with a God-shaped hole in our hearts.

Because we have been separated from him by our selfishness, our pride, our wrong choices, the sinfulness that has passed down through the generations of our fallen world since Adam and Eve, that hole hasn’t been filled. We are all looking for someone or something to worship, to adore and to love with all of our heart.

If we were in perfect unity with God, we would be complete. We would be satisfied. I can’t even describe what it would be like because my sin-tainted mind can’t even comprehend it.

However, it’s pretty clear that we’re not. We’re hollow and we run to all sorts of things in an attempt to fill us up. Some of us chase experiences. Some of us chase relationships. Some run after material possessions, approval from others, recognition, success, comfort, happiness, relaxation… the list could go for days. These can be outworked through things that seem harmless, sports, shopping, social activities and the like through to more dangerous habits like porn, alcohol, drugs and many other things.

Whatever it is that you are chasing. It will NOT satisfy you. It may give you pleasure, it may give you happiness. But you have a God-shaped hole inside you that these things just cannot fill.

Hell is described in the Bible as separation from God for eternity.

So rather than saying “hell is fire, hell is torment…etc” I think what I want to say is that hell is all your longings, wishes and desires, never being fulfilled.

Hell is constant craving and never receiving. Hell is eternal dissatisfaction. Hell is never being made complete.

Hell is your heart’s God-shaped hole, remaining just a God-shaped hole.

And this is our destiny.

Until we consider Jesus.

Because He came so that we could have a way back to God. He said that whoever believes in him can live for eternity.

I choose to accept that Jesus Christ who was God in human form, died on a bloodied Roman crucifix some two thousand years ago. I choose to accept that he spoke the truth when he claimed to be able to forgive sins. I choose to believe that he rose again from the grave and defeated death once and for all.

Because of Jesus I can come back to God and have my heart filled up. I’m a bit leaky you see, my choices aren’t always good and my selfishness and pride still battle inside me. But now I can come to God again and again trusting that Jesus destroyed the power of sin’s curse and have the hole in my heart topped up.

Now everything else I pursue gives me so much joy, not because it satisfies me, I know it won’t, but because my identity and purpose are defined by the creator of the universe itself and I recognise that these things fit in around that. I can do the things I enjoy without needing them to define me.

The thing is, I don’t believe in focusing too much on hell. Not because it’s an uncomfortable topic but because it is really the eternal absence of a relationship with God. What’s the point on focusing on the lack of a good thing? Why not focus on the good thing itself?

Jesus wants relationship with you. He wants to fill up that deep hole in your heart. Sometimes it’s so deep down it’s something you actually haven’t recognised. Your deepest longings aren’t something you’ve taken into much consideration. I urge you to stop and be still. To consider what true satisfaction, true love, true, deep, purpose for your very being looks like.

I hate the thought of any of my friends leaving this world without discovering their value, purpose and eternal hope.

Jesus always has his arms open.

Find yourself there.

 

Sincerely,

Caleb 🙂

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Theories and ideas and concepts and stuff

There has been something on my mind. Something I’ve become increasingly aware of in my own life, but I feel it relates to many more people than just myself.

You see we live in a scientific age I guess you could say. Everything is studied, theories are made and based on cold, hard fact. Ours is the age of information. Copious quantities of knowledge at the very fingertips of the average member of society.

Ideas about the many different aspects of life and the universe are widespread and fill every form of media you can imagine. Topics of debate are endless. Whether they are political, historical, environmental, philosophical or just about the last weekend’s sports game. Due to the proliferation of information (#bars ) every person can have a relatively educated opinion on all these different aspects of life.

One of these opinions is that there is a God who created the universe and that he also designed and formed every human being and loves them each equally. Another is perhaps that there is no God, we are the result of a cosmic accident and after we die our body decomposes and we no longer exist.

The thing I’ve noticed in our information saturated society is that knowledge does not necessarily equate to wisdom. Understanding does not necessarily lead to action and the ideas and concepts in one’s mind does not always outwork in the way they live their life.

This is true for both the Christian and the Atheist. Although the Atheist ultimately believes that humanity came from nothing, has no purpose and no aspect of this universe has any actual meaning the Atheist’s actions are generally not purposeless, meaningless nor chaotic like a cosmic accident could suggest (yes there are exceptions but I’m generalising here based off the Atheists I know or know of). The Christian on the other hand believes that they were designed as image bearers of an almighty creator, loved so much by the creator that he let himself be killed for them and have a purpose to outwork on this earth before reaching eternal paradise. How many Christians do you know truly live out of gratitude and intentionality based off this day by day?

This is a thought that challenges me to the core. As someone who claims to be a Christian, I think about how I live my life and sometimes, God is just an idea to me. Just a theory. Just an opinion to throw into a discussion. I can turn up to homegroup or wherever armed with my intellect, my ideas and even scripture but not ever communicate anything of true value because I forget the biggest part of what being rescued by Christ means.

A relationship with my Creator.

My God isn’t a series of vague ideas I can refer to. He’s a living being, wanting to connect, to show me stuff, to heal my hurts, open my eyes and give me purpose. I can read the Bible ten times over and memorize every chapter but if I don’t open my heart and lay down my own will what good will it do?

Even writing this.

I can write about having a relationship with my Saviour. I can write about needing to live with a purpose. Just because I know it in my head and can communicate it, does not mean I’m living it out as reality.

Let me be real with you for a moment. I try to be transparent. I try to live authentically. But I make choices I don’t like and then I hide away behind my Bible knowledge and theological understanding. It’s hard then to be honest and real, it’s much easier to divert conversation to ideas and topics which don’t necessarily translate into the day to day living of my life.

I can see why people outside the faith often have no interest in Christianity when I daily take the sacrifice of Christ for granted and my relationship with God simply outworks itself in the form of theological concepts and ideas.

The life we live as Christians should not be a series of rituals and rules or ideas and theories but a daily closeness with, and glorification of, the Creator who loves us.

To live like this means laying down our will, our desires for ourselves and taking up our cross. Not comfortable. Not particularly enjoyable. But necessary. Giving all we have and all we are to God. And then being real. Letting people see the fruit of the God inside us.

A real God shown through the actions of a real person is much more inspiring and convicting than a pile of theories and ideas.

Now that I’ve written this I have a choice. I can go on living with God as an idea or theological concept that fits into my life. Or I can choose to seek Him, live out of gratitude for the life He has given me and let my mind be renewed by Him.

You also have the same choice.

 

Back Again

It’s been a while.

There are a lot of excuses I can make for not writing a blog.

Trust me. They’re all floating through my brain right now.

But sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do ay?

And I have this real impression on my heart right now that this is what I’ve gotta do.

So please bear with me. I don’t quite know where I’m going here.

I guess what it all comes down to, is the burden of knowledge.

There’s a reason why they claim that ‘ignorance is bliss’. Because knowledge is indeed a burden. It guilt trips you and keeps you lying awake, aware that you’re not doing what you should be doing, and you’re probably also doing what you shouldn’t be.

Would it not be so much easier to be blissfully unaware? Ignorant and happy?

Perhaps it would be.

All this is very vague is it not? Let me explain my burden to you.

You see. I am burdened with the knowledge that I have a purpose. I am created to exist for reason beyond myself. I am created to communicate to others that they have a purpose too. My purpose is to bring purpose. My purpose is to point toward the hope of eternity and show that there is life beyond the grave. That this life has nothing on the greatness that is to come.

I know so deeply, in my mind, heart and soul that I am an intentionally created being, designed for this time and place, with the gifts, abilities and knowledge to be effective as a witness of Jesus Christ.

This knowledge gives me purpose. It gives me eternal perspective. It gives me reason to exist and to make the choices that I do daily.

Unfortunately, as Paul the apostle also laments in one of his letters in the New Testament, the things I want to do I don’t do and the things I don’t want to do, I do.

I am a bit of a failure.

I then say to myself, “who am I to write a blog about Jesus? I am the biggest hypocrite.” “why should people listen to me?”

So I do nothing. I go through life pleasing myself and ignoring the purpose set before me because I tell myself that I am not worth listening to.

But that’s the thing. In and of myself I am probably not worth listening to. I am nothing special. I can’t help anyone.

However, this isn’t about me. I was given a purpose and its not about me. Its not for my sake. I was created by God, to reflect his magnificence, his glory and who am I to decide that I don’t do that well enough so I should stop trying?

One thing I have been learning about God is His grace. His gift of grace means that no matter how much we mess up. No matter how many stupid mistakes we make. No matter how much we turn our back on Him and take the fact that he suffered on the cross and gave up his life for us for granted, he will continue to offer forgiveness. He holds out his hand and lets us take it for the seventh or the seventy seventh or however many times we come back to him accepting that we can’t live right by ourselves.

So I’m back accepting his gift once again. Letting Him re-purpose me, re-focus my heart and mind. I exist for a reason. I may not always live up to that, but it is what I strive towards.

That’s the crux of why I’m writing this today. I’m only on earth for a limited number of years. I need to make the most of every moment. I need to be a steward of the knowledge, the gifts and the means of communication I have.

Our society needs Jesus. Who am I to decide not to share the hope I have? Do I really appreciate this hope if I don’t want it to be shared?

I was created for a reason beyond myself. My time does not belong to me. My resources do not belong to me, my gifts do not belong to me. What did I do to earn any of it?

Nothing.

It was given to me so that I could be a steward of it.

So this post today is me coming back to my purpose. It’s challenging, realising how much time I waste. How much I serve myself. How much I take my life for granted.

I’m not a good person.

But Jesus came to rescue me from what I deserve. All he wants of me in return is my life, willing to be used for him. And although I often doubt it, he can use a wretch like me.

So here I am. Writing a bunch of words that I hope he can make use of.

I’m back again.

 

 

 

 

 

That Time of Year!

I have always made an effort not to be excited for Christmas.

Too much commercialism.

Too much hype.

Too much Santa.

Don’t get excited. Just reflect on what it all means.

That’s what I told myself.

Okay.

Time to reflect then.

So what does it mean?

Nativity scenes, church services and carols?

Not getting excited about presents because they’re not the main focus?

Gifts. Giving.

That’s it right?

But why?

“Because Jesus was God’s gift.”

That’s right.

The rote answer I learned over my years of a Christian upbringing.

So don’t be excited. Christmas is serious.

But as I reflect more.

I think about what this truly means.

God came to earth.

God Himself stepped out of his magnificence and into the mess of humanity.

This still means less to me than it should.

Until I look at myself.

Who am I that God Himself should humble Himself and die for me?

I am selfish. I am rude. I am easily frustrated.

I don’t have it all together.

My thoughts probably make him feel sick.

I am so aware of my incompetence.

My lack of patience and understanding.

My vanity, my conceited thoughts.

My laziness, my greed.

And He sees it all too.

He knew it all before I even existed.

And yet He still lowered Himself.

To the level of a human being, and lower still unto death.

So that I can be renewed.

So that I can be clean.

So that I can abide with Him forever.

He gave me the greatest gift I could ever receive.

He gave His all for me.

For a good man one might dare to die.

But I am not good.

For a righteous person one could give their life.

But I am not righteous.

Yet His grace was so.

That He poured Himself out as a sacrifice.

Gave Himself up as an offering.

Love beyond comprehension.

Has given me hope.

Given me life.

Made me new.

So now I am excited for Christmas.

Because it is another reminder, of the freedom that has been bought for me.

Undeserved.

One day all things on this earth will pass away.

Everything will come to its end.

But the sacrifice of Christ remains.

The hope He has given me is eternal.

There is no gift greater than that.

Merry Christmas 🙂

The most difficult one yet.

You know what sucks?

Like what really gets me down?

What messes me up more than almost anything?

SIN.

Now you’re probably thinking “oh yep well fair enough” and are starting to zone out already. But hold on. The word “sin” is thrown around so much I believe it’s lost a lot of meaning. So I can understand if you’re not feeling riveted by this post so far.

But bear with me as I give try to you a little glimpse into my life.

The thing about sin, is it was defeated on the Cross. Jesus gave up His life as the perfect sacrifice and killed it once and for all.

But let’s be honest, it’s not that simple.

Although the power of sin and death are broken, their defeat is not complete until the day Jesus returns. So what does that mean?

It means we still get rekt by them until that time. Haha. (Not that that’s actually funny though).

Basically we live in a world so corrupted by sin that it’s a bit of a goner until Jesus returns and makes His Kingdom here. Since we are in this world unfortunately we are also corrupted by sin.

So I’m going to bring this back to me personally because I’ve never been anyone else, funnily enough so I can’t speak for them. But I can speak for me. And I’ve got to say that unfortunately I am also still corrupted by sin.

Now this brings up a big question. If I am still a messed up sinner, what exactly happened when I accepted Christ’s sacrifice for me? Isn’t that supposed to make me new, make me better, make me like Him?

Yes it is. But not all at once. When I accepted Christ’s gift of forgiveness it was the beginning. The beginning of a process known as ‘sanctification’ or in simpler terms, becoming a ‘work in progress’. So basically, I am in the transitional phase I suppose you could say, from being a rotten sinner to being like Jesus.

That means that although I am a Christian, a follower of Christ, I am not yet like Him despite my best intentions.

Now that sounds pretty obvious. Kinda simple. Any of my close friends will be like “um yeh bro, some days you act more like the devil to be honest.” (Actually I hope this is quite an exaggeration) But the point is it’s pretty clear that I am not like Jesus.

So as simple as this sounds though, the reality is harsh. There are days that I struggle to live with myself knowing that I claim to be a follower of Christ yet do things that I know make Him sad.

Man ‘sad’ is a lame word. I don’t do things that just make Jesus ‘sad’ like a 3 year old is ‘sad’ when you take away his favourite toy (or like I am if you take away my surfboard). When I choose to disobey Jesus’s commands of loving Him and loving others and decide to fuel my own selfish desires it grieves the Holy Spirit.

It really distresses Him. He gave up his majesty and glory so that He could be nailed to a shameful wooden cross and I still have the gall to do the stuff that was the reason He had to die.

Every time I make a decision out of selfish ambition or vain pursuit I hammer those nails further into His hands. I wrench that crown of thorns into his skull. I am among those mocking at the foot of the cross. And it grieves him.

It tears Him apart to watch me, his son, who he died for turning his back on His greatest sacrifice, His life. But He won’t stop me. He gave me free will and will not force my hand. Eventually when I finish revelling in my desires like a pig in a mud pit the Holy Spirit nudges my soul. He takes me and points me towards the cross where a bloodied and naked man hangs.

His bones are out of joint and he has thorns sticking deep into his skull. His breathing comes in whimpered gasps and he shudders in the attempts to suck the oxygen into his diminishing body. His eyes though flicker and glance up. He stares straight into my heart and soul and as we exchange this look I see the pain in his eyes. The hurt. Torment beyond what words could describe and I realise what I have done.

If I had not followed my selfish desires, my vain attempts to discover pleasure for myself, He would not be on that cross. With my choices, I sentenced Him to the most excruciating death.

It is at this moment that I realise how unworthy I am. How far I fall short. I cannot reach perfection. Not by myself.

I think sometimes I kid myself. I think that I’m pretty all good. I’ve got it together mostly. But take me back to that cross, where purity itself hangs mangled and my perspective has to change.

I am a sinner. And sometimes it really does get to me. I hate it.

As Paul says in Romans 7:15 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

So I’m not the only one either. Even Paul the Apostle struggled with the choices he made and fell into temptation.

The thing is, he didn’t get himself into heaven. And neither am I going to, and sorry to break it to ya but neither will you.

Jesus’s death was enough. We’ve got to stop beating ourselves up about our sin and let Jesus nudge us towards the cross. I have spent hours telling myself to do better, being angry at the choices I make and wallowing in self-loathing.  But when I see that cross, when the Holy Spirit makes me even just slightly aware of the magnitude of the sacrifice Christ made for me, true sorrow comes. And that leads to honest repentance.

God can work with that. When we bow before Him, it gives Him the chance to pick ourselves up and give us a fresh start. Then we can continue being “transformed from glory to glory.”

One day our transformation will be complete. But until then we struggle with our wills and desires and need to constantly be pointed back towards the cross.

So I am a sinner.

But I am saved.

I am being changed.

And one day I will be made new.

Hallelujah.

All About You

Today I’m going to talk about you. Ha. Didn’t see that coming did you?

Yeh, well turns out I’ve been thinking about some stuff and it’s got a lot to do with you.

You are a creation of God.

Now to say that in this day and age is to crack open a big juicy can of worms because a lot of people beg to differ.

But please. Hear me out.

Society tells us that we are accidents of fate, the children of a cosmic calamity.

That’s a load of bollocks. Bollocks with a capital B.

Excuse my language, but I get worked up about this topic. I think some of the biggest reasons for the dysfunction and mess in our society is the lack of belief in a cause for our existence.

If you question atheists on their beliefs, they can tell you a lot. I have respect for a lot of atheists who have researched and thought and studied and come to their own conclusions about there being a God or not. It doesn’t mean I agree with them, but I respect their choice and am not going to push them about it.

However, there is one thing that all atheists have in common, even Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking. It’s their lack of explanation for what started the whole shebang off. They have all sorts of answers for everything except for the one simple point that something cannot come from nothing.

Now I’m not going to get into an argument for the existence of God, but I have reached the conclusion that Atheism is not a legitimate option (though I will still respect you if that’s what you choose to believe) basically because it leaves too many questions that are easily answered by the existence of an all-powerful, perfect, all-knowing, creative being.

Anyway, I told you that this would be about you didn’t I? Better get back to the topic then.

You are the creation of an Almighty God.

According to the Bible you were made in His image.

Now I think if you really consider this for a while it’ll blow your mind.

In contrast society tells us that we are an accident. What does that say about our value as humans? The media shouts stories at us about suicide, binge drinking, drugs and violence and asks why.

Apparently we need to move forward as a human race.

How is this meant to happen when we tell ourselves that we’re a meaningless accident? To bring it down to the bones of Atheism, there is literally no value on any person because there is no reason for us to exist. Now it’s not PC to say that and most Atheists will disagree but I am yet to hear an argument that can convincingly persuade me to believe that despite being just a product of chance and having absolutely no purpose or reason to exist, the human race has inherent value.

It just doesn’t fit together. Every person believes that they have some value. Otherwise they would never get angry at injustice. Morality cannot function if people do not have some value within who they are.

These days, people strive in all sorts of ways to make themselves believe that they have value. That they mean something. Some work hard to earn money and respect, thinking that status will ‘make them somebody’, others seek approval in a relationship and some run after their sports, hobbies and interests hoping to find their identity.

The truth is, none of these things give you worth. Any of them can be taken away at any time through some calamity.

You know the one thing that can never be taken away?

The truth.

The single truth that YOU were created for a reason.

You were thought up, imagined, planned out and made a reality.

Why?

So that God could delight in you.

So that He could express himself through his creation and when He looks at you, He sees a little of himself.

You have value because you were made by a loving father who wants you.

He wants life with you.

And when humankind fell away and sinned and became separated from God, He gave up his position of majesty to die a painful, humiliating death.

He died by death on a wooden cross, known as crucifixion. The pain of dying in such a way was so great the word ‘excruciating’ was created in an attempt to describe it.

And as he hung there on that cross he thought of you. He saw you, and knew you, and endured.

He could have left at any time. He could have called down angels, he could have made the cross and nails disappear.

But he endured the torment because He wants you to understand the value he has given you.

He has seen everything you’ve done and everything you’re going to do. The good and the bad. The pretty and the ugly. The happy and the sad. Your secrets. Your regrets. Your proudest moments and the most embarrassing.

He’s seen it all. He saw it before He even let himself be nailed to the cross. Yet he still hung there for you. Because He sees something in you that perhaps even you can’t see.

Maybe its hard for you to love yourself.

Maybe you feel like no-one loves you and no-one could.

He begs to differ.

You have a creator who delights in you. Not because of what you do, what you say, how you think but because of who you are.

He made you who you are. And who you are is who he wants you to be.

Overcomer

I’m gonna be honest with you here.

I do not feel like writing a blog. Often when I write these I’m on a spiritual high, buzzing off what God’s been showing me.

Today is a little different. I’m not getting into details but basically the crap hit the fan for me this week and I’m at a pretty low ebb.

So when I felt God prompting me to do this I was kinda not that stoked. But He stuck a verse in front of me and it’s been helping me a bit and I believe it can help you too. I think there are some people that need this message possibly even more than I do right now.

John 16:33(b) “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”

This was Jesus talking to His disciples about the future. He reveals His identity to them as the Son of God but also tells them He will have to leave them. He talks to them about how the world will hate them and sums it up in that sentence.

“In this world you will have trouble.”

It sounds so simple. But why does trouble always surprise/upset us? Sometimes as Christians we seem to think that life isn’t supposed to have troubles, or if it does it won’t affect us. Jesus shatters that idea. He tells us plainly how it is.

We will have trouble. We live in a fallen world. We all make mistakes. Sometimes our mistakes hurt ourselves. Sometimes our mistakes hurt others. Either way, we are often hurting people (take that as both the adjective and the verb haha).

We will have trouble. Not we ‘might’ have trouble, or ‘if you’re unlucky you’ll have trouble’. Hard times come as part of the package of life on a fallen world. The key I guess is to how we handle these times.

Now I personally have to say I’ve done a terrible job at handling the trouble in my life of recent times. I’ve run after all sorts of things as an escape and it hasn’t helped at all, it just distracts you momentarily. The thing is though, that’s what a lot of people do. A lot of us are hurt and broken inside, but rather than facing that brokenness we run here, there and everywhere to make ourselves forget about it.

Now the things you use to escape with aren’t always necessarily bad in themselves. It could just be a hobbie, sport or music. None of which are bad things. However when you run to them in order to escape from the pain in your life, you’re gonna find that they don’t help you deal with the problem. They just put it off.

Sometimes though, the things you use to escape with can be harmful, alcohol, drugs and pornography are a few that come to mind. These are worse though because they work a similar way as the other escapes except that when it’s over, not only do you have the problem that you tried to escape from still there, but you have the guilt and regret of doing things you know you shouldn’t. This sometimes means you want to escape more and a vicious cycle can begin.

The thing is though. Jesus had an answer to the trouble of the world. His response wasn’t ‘there will be trouble so try and escape it’ but “Take heart. I have overcome the world.”

One of the definitions of ‘take heart’ is ‘take courage’. Courage is an interesting thing if you look into what it really is. Nelson Mandela claimed that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” It has often been said that a truly courageous person is not the one that does not feel any fear but the one that feels the most and still overcomes it.

By saying to take ‘courage’ or ‘heart’ Jesus is telling us that we will still face trouble. We will still feel the same brokenness, despair and fear as before. The hard times will not be lessened or made easy. However with Him, we can have courage. We can take heart. We can overcome because He has overcome the world.

So as of myself, I cannot overcome. I’m pretty stuck in my sin, in my brokenness, in my fear. But Jesus came to me. He offered me a hand up and He said “Take heart.”

So although my problems have not changed. Although my hurts are still just as real. Although what has happened cannot be undone. I am now an overcomer. Jesus has made me and is making me an overcomer.

You are an overcomer. No matter what you’re facing right now, whether you’re angry at yourself, hurt by someone else, feeling overwhelmed by circumstances or whatever it may be, with Jesus you can overcome.

He went through the ultimate rejection hanging on the cross. He knows your pain and He holds out His hand to help you through it.

It’s your choice whether to take it.