Overcoming Adversity with Grace
We encounter varying kinds of trials and tribulations on a daily basis. From overwhelming health issues, like a diagnosis with a terminal cancer, to financial difficulties, job loss, loss of a loved one, or the ordinary stresses of life.
In John 16:33, Jesus Christ said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus is right that we will have trouble in this world. Trouble is everywhere. There is hardly a person who is not affected by trials and troubles. But why should his followers who live on earth take heart or have courage because he has overcome? One can say it’s fine that Jesus has overcome the world; I haven’t and I am suffering for it. The reason Jesus said this is seen in the scriptures — we are one with Christ.
When we received God’s grace, that grace made us to become sons of God. As a result of that, we are one with Christ Jesus. Understanding our oneness with Jesus is very important in understanding God’s grace to us. God’s grace that made us one with Jesus also empowers us to overcome challenges with Jesus. That’s why Paul was able to say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) Why? Because Jesus lives in him and he lives in Jesus. He and Jesus are spiritually one. Jesus not only strengthens him, but also endures with him. In the same way, when Paul talks about his labor in the work of God, he ascribes that to God’s grace working in him (1 Cor. 15:10). That grace is Jesus Christ living in him and working in him by his Holy Spirit.
The scriptures demonstrate our oneness with Jesus in many other ways. We are called the body of Christ and the bride of Christ. A person is one with his own body and with his wife.
In John 14:20, Jesus said, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father and you in Me, and I in you.”
The Bible takes the demonstration of this oneness even further. When we are insulted, Christ is insulted. When we are beaten, Christ is beaten. Here are some verses that show that:
Acts 26:14 – “We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” In this passage of the Bible, Paul who at this stage in his life is a Pharisee, is going about persecuting and killing Christians. He is on his way to Damascus to arrest, kill, or punish Christians. In response to this, Jesus charges Paul with persecuting him, not with persecuting Christians. So Jesus clearly identifies the Christians being persecuted as him! We and he are one; he feels our pain!
Well, now you know that God loves us more than we love ourselves, that God knows us more than we know ourselves, that we and Jesus are one, and we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.
We are in Jesus, Jesus is in the father. Jesus died as us and for us. He is seated on God’s right hand as us and for us. Because you are in him, you can face trials with confidence that God is going through the trial and feeling the pain. Not only so, but that Jesus has won and so have you!
How has God helped you through a difficult time in your past, or maybe one you’re going through right now? Please share your stories in the comment section below!