How can followers of Christ experience the peace of God in tumultuous, fearful times? This is the question David Strope asked attendees of the 2021 GARBC Conference June 29, the second day of the conference.
Strope is pastor of Ankeny (Iowa) Baptist Church and chair of the GARBC Council of Eighteen.
An unavoidable reality in our world is that we will face trials and times of fear, even in our neighborhoods and families. The world “is increasingly at war against the church of Christ and against followers of Christ. Fear and confusion reign,” Strope says.
“Take heart,” Strope says. “In Christ, fearful followers can have peace.”
That peace is rooted in the death and resurrection of Christ. Christ has overcome the world, Strope says, referring to John 16:33: “I [Jesus] have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (ESV).
Jesus said those words to His disciples, who were fearful, confused, sorrowful, overwhelmed, ostracized, and discouraged. Jesus said those words so the disciples would have peace. The words “take heart” also mean “be of good cheer” and “be of good courage.”
“We can’t live in fear. We can’t decide by fear. We can’t flourish when we are full of fear,” Strope says.
Rather, when fear threatens to overtake us, we can “take heart, be of good cheer, and be marked by confidence and assurance, not of the self-help manner, but rather, in faith, relying upon Who Christ is and all that He has done for us,” Strope says.
“Peace in a tumultuous, warring world is not found within us; it’s not conjured from within but rather is in Jesus Christ.”
So in spite of all that we experience in this world, Strope concludes, we can “take heart. Be of good courage. Christ has overcome the world.”
The GARBC Conference will continue through July 1.