Counseling is not my strength. It’s not that I lack a sense of care for people or concern for their problems, it’s just that a majority of our problems in life are the result of the wrong choices we make. I know that is true in my life. I truly sympathize with people who struggle because of physical problems, psychosomatic issues or choices not of their own making. But for the rest of us and for the majority of our problems we just need to – well, STOP IT! My children often teased me as they were growing up that that was my answer to all of their problems.

Several years ago someone shared an old clip of Bob Newhart counseling a woman who was afraid of being buried alive in a box. If you want a good laugh you can watch it here. Although it was meant to be humorous there is some degree of truth in the skit. Now, I know that there are issues that go beyond making wrong choices but they do seem to be in the minority. If we would simply eliminate the things that are the result of our wrong choices we would be amazed at how much better life would be.

Believe it or not, there is a Biblical precedent for this idea. In John 14:1, Christ said to His disciples, let not your heart be troubled. The world that the disciples had known was coming apart at the seams. In the space of a few hours Jesus had told them that one of them would betray Him (John 13:21) and another would deny that they even knew Him (John 13:38). Then He announced that He was leaving and they could not go with Him. A thousand troubling thoughts entered their minds. Why was He leaving them alone? Where was He going? Why couldn’t they go with Him? What would happen to them? Who would lead them? How did this affect their relationship with God? If Jesus was leaving them, would God also leave them? Knowing the turmoil of their minds, Jesus spoke these simple words – let not your heart be troubled. Simple but profound.

Thayer in his Greek lexicon classifies Christ’s statement as one where one is bidden to cease from something already begun. In other words, He wasn’t saying “don’t begin to be troubled” but “stop being troubled”. Their hearts were already in a state of anxiety and stress and Christ said (kindly I’m sure), STOP IT! Stop allowing turmoil to rule your life. Stop giving in to anxiety. Stop living with a heart overcome by trouble. They had a choice to make; either to live in turmoil or to live in the power of God. It would not be an easy choice but it was one that they could make.

Life is not easy and sometimes in the hardships of life we make wrong choices. Those wrong choices often lead us into greater difficulties and the cycle repeats itself. With each hardship we have a choice to make, to either let circumstances dictate our outlook and attitude on life or to let the Word of God determine how we live life. We don’t need to live with troubled hearts. We can choose to stop living that way and begin to live in God’s peace (John 14:27). Your choice will make all of the difference in your life.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve


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