1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God. Whoever loves someone who is a parent loves the child born to the parent. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep God’s commandments. 3 This is the love of God: we keep God’s commandments. God’s commandments are not difficult, 4 because everyone who is born from God defeats the world. And this is the victory that has defeated the world: our faith. 5 Who defeats the world? Isn’t it the one who believes that Jesus is God’s Son?
I’m not sure about you, but right now it feels like in the battle between me and the world, that the world is definitely winning.
The world, in the language of John’s gospel and letters, is everything human, everything fallen & corrupted, everything that is not of God. We are called, for example, to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:16, 1 John 2:15-17).
But it’s also true that the world is the sphere of God’s work to save humanity: “for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” (John 3:16). God doesn’t hate the world – God loves the world. Our faith is based on this premise – that God’s love conquers all.
So what does it mean for us to overcome the world? I believe it means to live out this love – to live out this hope – regardless of how difficult and scary circumstances look to us in any given moment. Right now we are in a moment of fear, perhaps the most fearful we’ve been since September 11, 2001.
What is it that can overcome this fear? What is it that overcomes the world? It’s faith. When there is no where else to turn, when our own emotional resources, our own courage, is depleted, we turn to the source of our faith: Jesus Christ. We turn to Jesus because he has overcome the world, and promises to do the same for those who put their trust in him.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
When have you faced overwhelming challenges? How was God with you in navigating those hardships? How did God work through people around you to help you overcome those obstacles?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you overcame every challenge that humankind laid upon you in order to show yourself as our Savior. You overcame our fear and suspicion, even our violence that put you on the cross. Death could not hold you; you rolled away the stone and became our Risen Lord. Give us faith that we might trust fully in you and experience hope and joy once more. Amen.