Video by Grace For Purpose Prayers

It was a cold, rainy day when my friend Emma heard the news. Her brother Justin had been arrested for preaching the gospel.

How could this happen? Emma wondered. After all Jesus had done for them – healing the sick, feeding the hungry, even raising the dead – how could the authorities turn against His followers now?

As she hurried to visit Justin in prison, Emma’s mind raced with fear. What would become of her dear brother? Of their little community of believers? 

Persecution was rising against them on all sides. Division and animosity infected families, with “brother against brother.” It felt like the whole world was against them.

Emma entered the prison with a heavy heart. But when she saw Justin’s face, she stopped short. He was…smiling!

“Rejoice, dear sister!” Justin said joyfully. “For though I suffer for a time, I know the truth will prevail. I have faith that God’s purpose will be accomplished.”

Emma left the prison bewildered. During such tribulation, how could Justin be so cheerful? Where did he find such confidence and hope?

The Challenges We Face Today

In This World You Will Have Tribulations

As followers of Jesus today, we also face many challenges: the wars in Israel and Ukraine, financial struggles, incurable diseases, political unrest, earthquakes, and other calamities.

Like Emma, we may sometimes feel bewildered, afraid, or overwhelmed. Hard times can shake even the sturdiest faith.

Jesus told his disciples:

In the world you will have tribulation.”

John 16:33 (NKJV)

Wars, violence, injustice, division – these are the unfortunate realities of our fallen world.

As Jesus’ disciples, we are called to bring light into the darkness, yet it often seems that the darkness is closing in.

Faced with such overwhelming troubles, how do we keep from losing heart? How did Emma’s brother Justin manage to be so joyful, even in prison?

Christ Has Overcome! Be of Good Cheer

Christ Has Overcome! Be of Good Cheer

Justin’s joyful confidence came from remembering Christ’s victory on the cross. Though persecuted for a time, he knew that Christ had already won the ultimate battle against sin and death.

He clung to Jesus’ words of comfort to his followers:

“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 (NIV)

Though we face many troubles in this life, Christ tells us to “be of good cheer.”

Through faith in Him, we can have hope and peace, even in the storm. For Christ has “overcome the world” – conquering sin and death forever.

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.”

1 John 5:3 (NIV)

Though living for Christ brings persecution from the world, His “commands are not burdensome” when we walk in His love and in the power of the Spirit.

Standing Firm in Faith, Hope and Love

Preaching The Gospel

How do we follow Christ’s call to “be of good cheer” even when facing troubles? The key is to stay rooted in faith, hope, and love.

1. Faith – Remember Christ’s Promises

Like Justin in prison, we can smile amidst trials when we remember God’s promises and Christ’s victory for us.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

Faith is the “anchor for our soul” keeping us steady when storms rage. Faith clings firmly to Christ’s words and finds hope in His promises for the future.

2. Hope – Let Us Fix Our Eyes on Eternity

Our hope comes from fixing our eyes on heaven, not earthly kingdoms. Unlike earthly hopes, biblical hope is confidence in what we do not yet see.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?

Romans 8:24 (NIV)

When we lose earthly possessions, human support, or even our freedom like Justin, we can still rejoice in the eternal inheritance Christ purchased for us.

2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

The trials we face on earth are “light and momentary troubles” compared with the “eternal glory” awaiting us in heaven (2 Corinthians 4:17).

This heavenly hope gives us the strength to endure any earthly hardship.

3. Love – Laying Down Our Lives

Finally, we can remain cheerful amidst trials through the power of love – laying down our lives to serve others as Jesus did.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

John 15:13 (NIV)

When we shift focus from our own troubles to serve others, we often find strength we didn’t know we had.

As we pour ourselves out to share the gospel, visiting those in prison as Emma did, we tap into the supernatural power of God’s love. For Christ’s love shines brightest in our weakness.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

So despite wars, violence, pandemics, and all this world’s tribulations, we can still have peace and joy.

By clinging to our faith, fixing our hope on eternity, and letting God’s love flow through us, we can echo Justin’s words from prison:

“Be of good cheer, my brothers and sisters! For though we face troubles for a time, Christ has overcome the world!”

Key Takeaways: Finding Good Cheer Despite Tribulation

  • Though we face troubles in this fallen world, Christ has already “overcome the world” through His victory on the cross.
  • Cling to faith in God’s promises, fix your hope on eternity, and let His supernatural love flow through you to others.
  • Like Justin in prison, we can still “be of good cheer” amidst temporary trials when we remember Christ’s eternal victory.
  • Our present sufferings are “light and momentary” compared with the “eternal glory” that outweighs them (2 Corinthians 4:17).
  • Serve others through the power of Christ’s love, remembering that trials provide opportunities for His light to shine through our weakness.
  • Share the eternal hope and confidence we have in Christ with others who need encouragement.

So take heart! Though trials will come, God promises to be with us and uphold us by His grace.

We can confidently proclaim with Justin:

“Be of good cheer, my brothers and sisters! For though we face troubles for a time, Christ has overcome the world!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it selfish or uncaring to focus on “heavenly things” when there is so much suffering on earth?

A. Not at all! In fact, it is only as we keep our minds set on Christ that we find the power to serve others sacrificially through earthly suffering.

Focusing on heaven gives us an eternal perspective to endure Earth’s trials.

Q. Isn’t “overcoming the world” about escaping physically from all troubles? How can you say we’ve “overcome” when Christians still face persecution?

A. When Christ said he had “overcome the world” he didn’t mean Christians would escape all physical suffering. But rather that he achieved total victory over sin and death – the root causes of all pain and evil.

Though we suffer persecution for a time, no earthly trouble can separate us from Christ’s eternal love!

Q. It’s easy to say “take heart” when you’re not facing difficulties. How can I find this kind of supernatural joy in my situation?

A. You’re right, it’s far easier said than done! But remember the saints’ shining examples to us, like Paul who learned this secret of contentment despite sufferings “of every kind” (2 Corinthians 6:4-5) and sang hymns even in prison (Acts 16:25). 

We also think of present-day Christians facing intense persecution yet overflowing with supernatural joy. Take comfort knowing there is no trial you face that Christ cannot carry you through by His Spirit and give you joy in.

If you remain near Him through prayer and scripture, He promises to uphold you!

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