Jesus is now sharing His heart with His disciples, to encourage them that He has done all He needs to do to make a way for them to walk in victory while in this world. In this small conversation alone, we are promised the amazing love of the Father, (John 16:27) complete joy (John 16:24) and perfect peace (John 16:33). Jesus is keen for us to know that we can succeed in everything to which we put our hand. (Deuteronomy 28:8)
“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.
God’s desire for you is that you continually live in peace.
Peace: a state of rest, harmony, quietness, calmness, tranquillity and an absence of strife. It denotes a perfect well-being, completeness, wholeness, safety, health and prosperity. In fact, it contains the whole package of everything that we need: total freedom and liberty.
Trouble: pressure, oppression, stress, anguish, tribulation, adversity, affliction, crushing, squashing, squeezing, distress. The original word means putting a lot of pressure on something that is free and unfettered.
“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
Jesus is saying that if your mind is focused on Him and you think according to His word, you will experience peace, even if your outward circumstances are horrific.
Make a quality decision to give His word first place in your life: “I think, I speak, I do only His word from this day on.”
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
One area that commonly robs us of peace is our self image.
- We are dissatisfied with ourselves.
- We are not happy with the way we were created.
- We wish we were thinner or fatter, taller or shorter, darker or lighter.
- We are self conscious about a certain part of our body.
- We cannot stand in front of a mirror and say that we love ourselves.
Often, we do not feel that we have control over certain areas of our life and become preoccupied with food, eating, exercise or shopping as an answer to the problem. This is deception because it is a “carnal” answer to a “spiritual” problem. Defeat in this area can allow strongholds of self-hate, oppression and condemnation. If you are not at peace with yourself, your body and your life, you will experience trouble (anguish, crushing, affliction) in your mind.
Four steps to victory
1. Get the substance: faith. God can only respond to faith, not to hope or good intentions. Faith means simply believing that everything God has said about us is true, even if everything around us tells us differently. (See Hebrews 11:1.) Many of us live in hope when it comes to losing weight. We do not think to apply the principles in God’s word to this area of our lives. Hope sometimes works but is not guaranteed by God. Faith (believing) is guaranteed to bring the desired result. To convert hope to faith, we need to meditate and digest the relevant Bible verses, realising that God’s will for us is prosperity (to be our ideal size and feel good about ourselves). Mental assent does not work – it must be in our heart.
If we see ourselves as God sees us, we will experience life and peace. We will know who we are and what we have in Christ. It is possible to be victorious in many ways, but still struggle and fail in this one area because it is a very deep area; it deals with who we are as a person. Our body is very important to our self-esteem. “As a woman thinks in her heart, so is she.” (Proverbs 23:7)
What we do with our body is closely linked to how renewed our mind is in a particular area.
Our mind may desperately want us to lose weight. We can fully intend to lose weight and overcome in this area, but if our view of ourselves is as we are now, that is the way we will stay. Women especially lose weight and put it on again because they do not have the right picture of themselves at heart. If we diligently see ourselves according to God’s word, that is what we will become.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, and beg of you in view of all the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies, presenting all your members and faculties as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world – this age, fashioned after and adapted to it’s external, superficial customs. But be transformed (changed) by the (entire) renewal of your mind – by it’s new ideals and new attitudes – so that you may prove (for yourselves) what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 AMP
“Conformed” means “conforming oneself to the outer fashion or outward appearance, accommodating oneself to a model or pattern.” Do not let the world squeeze you into its mould, but let God transform you by His word. Take captive every thought, and cast down every imagination that contradicts what God says about you. Imagination includes our self image. We must pull down every stronghold in our mind that allows lies and death into our life. We do this by thinking and speaking what His word says. We must be aggressive in this, refusing to submit to negative feelings about ourselves. There is no other way to victory.
- You are born again, by faith.
- You live your new life, by faith.
- You have victory over circumstances in your life, by faith.
- You get rid of any poor self image, by faith.
- You love yourself as you are now, by faith.
- You receive peace about yourself and refuse to accept trouble, by faith.
The devil attacks how we feel about our body because:
a. He knows it can easily rob us of our joy (our strength) and pull us down.
b. He knows that, if our mind is not renewed through God’s word, he can bring us trouble (pressure, distress) about who we are and what we look like.
c. If he can get preoccupy us with thinking of our size, weight, appearance and diet, he can hinder us from growing into the person that God intends us to be, stunting our spiritual growth.
d. He tells us that our emotional needs come from certain foods, but the truth is that we can only receive satisfaction from God.
How many of us are being hindered in our destiny because we struggle in this area of our lives?
2. Get Vision
When Gideon found out who he really was, he did great things for God. He was intended to be a mighty man of valour, but never realised it until God got hold of him by the scruff of the neck!
Find out who you are and do not waste any more days with a distorted view of yourself.
God wants you to feel free and unfettered about who you are as a person and about your body. Take time out to seek God and agree His goals and purposes for your life.
Write an action plan: Include every concern of your life. Whatever concerns you, also concerns God, whether it be your home, children, finance, relationships, employment or lifestyle.
It must be specific, detailed and realistic.
Aim: To wake up every morning with purpose; to know God and have an intimate relationship with Him. We need to know where we are heading and what we have to do today to get one step closer to our goal. We must keep it before our eyes. When we focus on God’s word for the day, it keeps us making right decisions for tomorrow. We need to see ourselves as “people with purpose”, not a “person with a problem”. If you have a “bad day”, refuse to meditate on it or speak about it. We need to keep our eyes focused on the vision and where we are going. Whatever we focus on will get bigger. The devil will try to make our size a big issue and and an idol in our lives, affecting our decisions and thoughts, that should be 100% in line with God and His word.
3. Get Wisdom and understanding
The devil is the god of this age. (See 2 Corinthians 4:4.) His value system is set up in the world. Do not receive his lies! He says that, to be “real” we must look like a super model. The devil’s value system is based on external appearance. His plan is to sow in our minds thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, dissatisfaction and self-rejection.
His ploy is to lift up an “ideal” that is unreal and unattainable. He uses the media, womens’ magazines, television and, especially, advertising. He wants us to spend our time striving to reach this “ideal”. This is how he manages to get a foothold and to put trouble and pressure on us. As we focus on the world’s value system, we will start to feel squeezed and pressurised into its mould. As we focus on God’s value system (His word), it changes our hearts (our inner selves) and we feel liberated and free. God created you exactly as He wanted you to be. You are a unique individual that the world has never seen before and will never see again. Before you were born, God knew you. He carefully thought about who you would be. (Read Psalm 139:13.)
4. Get knowledge
We can use knowledge to achieve goals.
Diets and exercise programmes can be a tool to maintain the body that God has given us:
Aerobic exercise can change our internal body chemistry.
Resistance exercise can increase your metabolic rate.
Calorie intake reduction creates an energy deficit.
It’s important to know what our bodies need without getting obsessed with “keep-fit” or dieting, because this is idolatry. At first, it may seem difficult overcoming in this area and you may have tried the world’s way of coping, but diets and striving to improve our bodies only affect the external person.
God wants us to overcome through a change in our hearts and minds, through the living and powerful word of God and His powerful Holy Spirit. He wants us to accept ourselves as we are, to love ourselves and to praise Him for making us this way. Ultimately though, we have to take the victory by starting to believe what God says.
He wants us to have victory His way – the only way that will last. We must start to believe the Word of God. This is faith.
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:4.
“But now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.” John 16:24 Amp.
Intimacy with God is the aim.
Home challenges for Power Up! – No. 27: Fit for Life
Read the beginning of the notes, “Fit for Life“, including the first step to victory: “Get the substance: faith“.
1. What can we do to know what God has said about us and to know that we can have peace?
2. a) “In the world you will have trouble… in me you may have peace.” Why do you think that Jesus says that we will have trouble but may have peace?
b) How can you be sure that you will have peace?
3. Read the rest of the notes. If you never had to worry about your size, self control with food or lack of self esteem again, how would it affect your life?
4. a) What are the lies about yourself that often cause you to feel troubled?
b) What is the truth about these lies?
c) What verse from the Bible reinforces this truth? How often do you meditate on the truth of the matter?
5. What have you been freely given by God in the following areas?
- Self image?
- Self control?
How are you going to get free and become the woman that God wants you to be?
Read John 17:1-18
6. When talking to the Father, what does Jesus say is His main motive for everything He has done?
7. What is your main motive for everything you do?
8. What is eternal life? (John 17:3) How do we actively go about making this happen?
9. a) What specific things does Jesus pray for when praying for His disciples? (for example, protection – John 17:11-15)
b) Can you apply this to your own prayer life?
10. Which point do you find most encouraging?
11. With what are followers of Jesus meant to be filled to overflowing? (John 17:13)
Read John 17:20-26
12. Jesus prayed for unity for all believers. What was the standard He mentioned?
13. Why is our unity a living testimony to the reality of Jesus?
14. Give practical examples of how we can show our unity.
15. Are there any words in this prayer that encourage and give you assurance?
16. In your Bible, go through John 17 from verse six to the end and change all the pronouns, instead putting in your own name.