Simple confidence and quiet trust are the qualities that portray the presence of faith. Inner struggles, turmoil and conflict are the telltale signs of apprehension and indecision. When we are battling within ourselves, locked in mortal combat with the enemies dwelling between our ears, we seek peace but only find discomfort. When we lay down our pride, stubbornness and fear and allow God to have His way in our life, the result is His peace that passes all understanding.
Jesus knew what was coming for God had shown Him clearly that He was about to endure the most crushing, painful and horrible torture and death any man had ever faced. Deep within Him, the absolute trust in God battled with the natural desire to run away. Jesus wrestled with the situation to the point He cried tears of blood. No man before or since ever experienced what Jesus did shortly before He was apprehended in the garden and taken to the High Priest to be tortured, beaten, humiliated and ultimately crucified on our behalf.
Contrary to what many believe, absolute commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ demands a willingness to suffer ridicule, scorn, affliction, persecution and loss. How can such a “promise” be reconciled with the assurances that God is with us, that God will bless us and that God will protect us? How is it that almost every pillar of the faith in the First Century ended up being martyred for their faith?
The Apostle Paul wrote that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus, yet he was executed for his faith in Christ. The Apostle Peter lived and learned from Jesus for three years and was the leader of the early church, yet he was (according to tradition) forced to watch his wife be crucified and then crucified upside down himself. With the exception of John, each of the twelve apostles was executed. Is that what being “more than a conqueror” is all about?
There is no greater victory in this life than to reach the point that this life can be willingly sacrificed for our Lord without regret or fear. Truly, when we lose our lives we gain the understanding of what life in Christ Jesus is all about. When we sacrifice our human desires, greed, pride and fear at the feet of Jesus; then we understand true freedom and joy.
Only when we reach the point that our life is hidden in Christ and we believe in our hearts that we have been purchased with a price and therefore our life is not our own can we grasp what true peace, love, joy and contentment are all about. As long as we live to get we will always lose. Only when we live to give do we gain God’s peace and tranquility that comes when we cease fighting Him and cry out to Him with all of our heart: Thy will be done and not my own.