It is a troubling world. Strife is among people everywhere. There are wars, rumors of wars, terrorist’s attacks and hateful discord strewn throughout nearly all media outlets. We all endure personal struggles to varying degrees. It could be from “my daughter didn’t make the cheerleading squad” to “my brother has just been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer”. And quite frankly…… in this fallen world, these situations are just the tip of the iceberg.
Knowing how dark and sometimes savage our world is capable of being, how can we be expected to live lives of peace? Yet, our Savior, Jesus told us to “…Let not our hearts be troubled?” (John 14:27b)
“Letting” is an action, isn’t it? When we “let” the dog out we are allowing it to go outside. When we “let” ourselves eat a dozen tacos at 8pm in the evening, we probably won’t feel well the next day. Those actions are choices and they result in consequences such as a happy dog or an angry stomach. Of course, Jesus has always known about our free will and that is why He told us to “Let not our hearts be troubled”. He knew that the result of our action of “letting not” would give us peace. We want peace in our hearts. Do you?
There is a story line in the movie Star Trek III, where Spock’s half-brother Sybok, a determined space hippy, captured the Enterprise so he could fly it to a universal place of love and peace. He was able to subdue the crew through his Vulcan mysticism….. All except for Captain Kirk, of course, who saw through the danger of the promise of a false paradise. When Sybok taunted Kirk with the promise of everlasting bliss through removing his pain, Kirk resisted by screaming, “I want my pain, I need my pain!” Of course, the whole ordeal portrayed a longing for a counterfeit place of peace. However, Kirk’s desire to hang onto his pain teaches us a valuable lesson. How many people today are choosing misery instead of following Jesus’ words to “let not our hearts be troubled”?
If letting is an action that we truly have control over, then why let distress rule our hearts? Why would someone want their pain? We don’t have all the answers, but perhaps some people think they have the ‘right’ to wallow in self-pity, anger or bitterness? While we know these emotions exist and that we have experienced some of them from time to time, they are NOT from God. They are part of the fallen human condition that we can choose to overcome through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ promises to us are true. He GAVE us His PEACE and we must allow our hearts to accept it in every situation that we face.
John 14:27 (AMP) Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]
So how can we “let not” our hearts be agitated, filled with fear, doubt, or discouragement? What actions can we take? There are several ‘directions’ in the scriptures that we can follow.
1) We need to keep our eyes (and minds) on the truth of the Word of God, by reading scripture (reading it out loud is best). When we do that, the Lord promises to “keep us in perfect and constant peace.” (Isaiah 26:3)
2) We must choose to “forget those things of the past” and look “forward to those things which are ahead” with HOPE (a positive expectation of good). (Philippians 3:13-14)
3) We should remain steadfast (unwavering) in our pursuit of God, by way of the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord and His finished work on the cross. (2 Peter 1:2)
There are several ‘actions’ involved in the above. Picture yourself standing at an open doorway… You are on the threshold of going through to a new place, but your mind is filled with the unrest of past experiences which are holding you back. You want to ‘breakthrough’ and step out, but first you must remove those thoughts that seemingly continue to plague your mind and keep you frozen. Then you decide to “forget those things which are behind” and you toss one hand behind you, in an action of determination. Next, you take that hand and reach forward through the open doorway. But you haven’t moved through the threshold yet. A force is needed for you to press forward and step with momentum through the doorway. This illustrates what is needed to move forward.
Let NOT your heart be troubled… let not the past keep you from moving ahead with life. A life that is promised to be more abundant by the Lord Jesus Himself. Do not allow the “thief” to “steal, kill, or destroy” you or anything that pertains to you. (John 10:10) Follow after Jesus Christ and learn more of His finished work on the cross. Grace and peace will be multiplied to you!
Today we declare that the promises of Christ Jesus are true and we receive them!
Isaiah 26:3 (AMPC) You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV) Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
2 Peter 1:2 (NASB) Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
~ Sarah and Joanne
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