Jesus was speaking to His disciples just before His crucifixion, which was about to be a pretty intense crisis for His followers. As we read through the account of Jesus’ arrest, beating, crucifixion, death and burial, we can see that they didn’t remember that He had said that all this would happen and that He would rise from the dead three days later. They appeared hopeless. Peter even denied knowing Jesus when people confronted Him about it. And yet Jesus prepared them for it. He started out by saying,
John 14:1 KJV
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
What happens to you isn't as important as how you respond to the things which happen. Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble (John 16:33). So we are not guaranteed a trouble free life, but we can “take heart” (or have courage) knowing that Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33), and because we’re in Him, we have also overcome the world (1 John 4:4; 5:4). We can’t prevent bad things in life from happening, but how we respond to bad things can determine a better outcome. With the right focus and response to a crisis, and with the authority we have in Christ, we can turn the situation around.
What Jesus is saying here in John 14:1 is significant! “Allow” reveals that the condition of your heart is in your control. Most people don’t like hearing this because it’s easier to blame someone or something else rather than accept responsibility, but knowing this truth will set you free and empower you to live in even greater victory! Jesus is saying that we have control over our hearts; that we either allow our hearts to be troubled, or we prevent our hearts from being troubled. It’s all got to do with your focus. Are you focused on whats going wrong and the negative potential of the crisis, or are you focused on the Lord and His Word? You determine if you experience peace in life or not. You choose to be troubled or not.
Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”
Perfect peace is not something that comes upon you like a cold; it’s not something that just happens unexpectedly. Perfect peace is a natural by-product of having your mind focused on God, trusting in God and His Word. Perfect peace is the result of knowing (believing) that God is faithful and His Word is true.
The fact that Jesus says to “let not your heart be troubled” (control your emotions) first, is significant. If you indulge in your emotions and allow them to run away with you, you will find it difficult to rein them in later.
Romans 8:6 KJV
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Proverbs 18:21 KJV
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”
Especially in a crisis, but even out of a crisis: Guard your heart: what you think about, and guard your tongue: what you say.
Carnal mindedness isn’t necessarily sinful thoughts. It can simply be having a focus on the wrong things, things that are carnal (of the five senses; what you see, feel and experience). The Bible says that carnal mindedness results in death. But on the flip-side, being spiritually minded (focused on God and His Word) results in life and peace. We all want life and peace but it’s funny how many people prefer to be carnally minded, rather than spiritually minded. Then we blame something or someone (even God) for the mess we’re in. We’d rather meditate on and talk about what the doctor says, and how bad things are, rather than talking about the solution and what God’s Word says. We planted seeds of death through our carnal thinking and then wonder why we’re not experiencing all God has for us?
The Bible says that the tongue has power to produce life and death, and yet we’d rather speak death and hope for life. We’d rather tell everyone, even people we just met, how bad things are, and then we’re upset and confused as to why we’re in fear and why things are not getting better? It’s because we’re reaping what we’ve sown through our thought life, and through speaking out our unbelief and fear.
When things go wrong, don’t freak out. Relax. Remember what God’s Word says and choose perfect peace. If you’re struggling to control your emotions and your mind and tongue, then keep your mind busy by listening to good teaching (like my #WarOnSickness series) and reading the promises of God in the Word. Flood your heart and mind with the Word. Don’t give the devil a moment of opportunity to distract you from keeping your heart and mind fix on God and His promises, and you will experience life and peace.
SAY IT OUT ALOUD: I will not panic. I will not fear. Greater is Jesus in me than anything I could face in this world. Although I may have troubles, Jesus has overcome the world, and I am in Him. I am born of God and therefore I have overcome the world. I will not focus or think on anything negative. I will not speak anything negative. I will only think what God says, I will only speak what God’s Word says, and I will only experience life and peace, in Jesus’ Name!