John 16:33 tells us, “In the world you will have trouble. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
It’s not a question of if we’ll have times of trouble and confusion or chaos in our lives, it’s a matter of when. The longer we live, the more it will happen. Some lucky ones manage to get through life with only minor hardships and others have more than their fair share, but we all have them.
Then there are the troubles of our culture and the world which affect us all to some degree. Trouble is all around us. Confusion abounds. Yet the Bible tells us to “be of good cheer.” Why is it so important to be of good cheer, and how can we be cheerful in the midst of trouble?
Why Be Cheerful?
John 14:1 says, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.”
What does it say to God when we worry and allow our circumstances to get us down? It tells Him we don’t believe He is powerful enough to save us or that He is willing to do what’s best for us. It says, “I don’t believe you’re in control of this situation,” or worse, “I don’t want you in control.”
If we truly believe in God and His son Jesus as the verse in John tells us to, we will rely on Him for our strength, sanity, and peace. We will focus on Him in the storm instead of focusing on the storm itself. God wants us to be cheerful as a show of faith in His control, power, and goodness.
God also wants us to be cheerful to show non-Christians what a life devoted to Christ looks like. We want being a Christian to be appealing to others so that they can experience God’s fullness themselves. What better testimony of the good Christian life than being cheerful and full of joy and peace through difficult circumstances?
We may not realize it, but people are watching. They’re watching to see if our lives match up to what we profess and if there’s anything really different about our lives that’s worth a closer look. They’re looking for peace too, so if they see it in us and want to know how we’ve achieved it, we have an opportunity to tell them. Does this mean we always have to have it together and can never get frustrated or sad? Of course not. But it does mean that we should seek God when we feel those emotions and allow him to lift us up as only He can. It means we trust Him to give us the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Lastly, God wants us to be happy while we’re here on earth. John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Just as a father loves to see his children happy, God take joy in seeing His children happy. Though sometimes we need to go through difficult times in order to grow spiritually or fulfill God’s master plan, He ultimately wants the best for us. He created this earth for us, and He wants us to enjoy it. There is always something around us we can enjoy, despite our circumstances. We just need to look for it with God’s perspective.
How Can We Be Cheerful?
So if we agree that it’s important to stay cheerful and positive even in the midst of hardships, how are we supposed to do it? Sometimes it’s just easier to let our circumstances get us down and to wallow in despair and uncertainty.
To answer that question we need to figure out what’s really happening when we let our circumstances get us down. As mentioned earlier, part of the problem is our trust in God. When we let our troubles get us down it’s almost like we’re saying that we don’t believe in or trust God’s ultimate control and power. It also means we take our focus off God and put it on our own scope of control which is in fact very small, despite what we may tell ourselves.
The truth is, no matter what goes on during our lives here on earth, we can always live in the security God has given us in His promises and from His Holy Spirit. God is in control. He’s promised us this, so it’s a promise we can count on. God gives us all the answers we need on how to live in difficult times through His word and through His spirit. We just need to seek Him and stay close to Him to discover those answers. With Him we can do anything.
Without Him, though, we can do nothing. John 15:5 says: “I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit. Without me, you can do nothing.” This verse doesn’t just apply to our doing work for God’s kingdom. It applies to everything we do, including trying to get through our troubles. We simply can’t do it without God.
It also applies to having an abundant life. We can’t have a truly abundant life without a connection to our creator, the one who knows us inside and out and who knows our destiny. He’s the only one who knows how to put the pieces of our crazy lives together in order to bring about the best for us and for His glory. So for our own good and for the good of God’s kingdom, we must stay connected to Him. That is where we will find our security and joy.
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