In the times we’re living in today, it’s no wonder stress-related illnesses are so common. There are plenty of reasons for us to become overwhelmed by the burdens of life, and it only takes a moment of watching the news to be reminded of the uncertain world in which we live. Sometimes I wonder—did God really believe we would have the strength to face this life? But then I remember: He never expected us to carry the weight of this world on our shoulders. Of course, being a Christian doesn’t exempt us from the threats of danger, but it does mean that we have the ability to remain calm in the midst of chaos. “That’s impossible,” you may say—but isn’t this what Jesus commanded of us? In John 14:1, He says, “Let not your heart be troubled.” So what does this mean, and how can we apply this verse to our lives during seasons of uncertainty?
What Does 'Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled' Mean?
It’s interesting how Jesus phrased the command to “let not your hearts be troubled.” He didn’t simply ask his disciples to try and avoid being fearful or anxious. The fact that he tells them to avoid allowing their hearts to be troubled is evidence that we have control over how we respond to the burdens of life.
Of course, our initial reaction to an event may be out of our control, and I’m not by any means referring to an anxiety disorder. But when it comes to our everyday burdens and the danger that lurks in this world, we can choose to let not our hearts be troubled; if that weren’t the case, then Jesus would not have commanded this of us.
The term “be troubled” can be interpreted in various ways. The Greek word is tarassesthō, and this implies to disturb or agitate due to uncertainties. Obviously, this is the complete opposite of remaining in a peaceful state over uncertainties.
Sure, we may live in an uncertain world—but the good news is that we do not serve an uncertain God. We also do not serve a God who is surprised by the events of this world nor of the circumstances in our lives. When we choose to follow Him and seek Him, we can trust that our everyday life remains in His hands.
If we did not serve a loving God who cared for His children, then we would certainly have a reason to let our hearts be troubled! But instead, we serve a God who has already defeated the darkness of this world. We are on the winning team. It is through the power of His blood that we can proclaim that we are more than conquerors (see Romans 8:37). Nothing in this life can ultimately destroy us, take away our salvation, or snatch us from God’s hands (see John 10:28).
Our Heavenly Father remains with us throughout all eternity, and it’s through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can remain at peace no matter what comes our way, and we can choose to “let not our hearts be troubled.”
What Is the Context of John 14:1 and 'Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled'?
John 14:1-7 says, ‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going. ‘No, we don’t know, Lord,’ Thomas said. ‘We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!’”
It seems as though, in this passage, Jesus is reassuring the disciples by reminding them of the bigger picture. He wants them to see that, through Him, there is no reason to fear or be troubled by the affairs of life. It is also through Him that we have access to our Father who cares for us and has prepared an eternal home for us. Therefore, the only reason we should become fearful would be if we did not have access to the Father.
What Does the Bible Say about Peace?
The remedy to a troubled heart is through attaining peace—but this isn’t the kind of peace that can be found through emptying the mind. In fact, this kind of supernatural peace doesn’t come from ourselves at all; rather, it can only be provided by the Holy Spirit through the love of Jesus Christ. According to 1 John 4:18, only His love is strong enough to cast out our fear and provide the peace we need: “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”
We also know that this peace does not come from the world because of what Jesus says in John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Why do we have a reason to remain at peace? Because we know that nothing in this world can defeat us. We are in Christ, and Christ has already conquered this world and its attempt to harm us.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Based on the above Scripture, how can we remain in perfect peace? By keeping our minds fixed on Jesus. This involves intentional effort; it is not done by happenchance.
On the other hand, if our minds are consumed with fearful and anxious thoughts—if we meditate more on the dangers of this world rather than on Jesus and His Word—then we shouldn’t be surprised when terror tries to grip our hearts!
4 Ways to Not Let Your Heart Be Troubled during Uncertain Times
Be mindful of what you consume.
This doesn’t mean we should avoid watching the news. It is certainly important to remain informed about what’s going on in the world and in our nation. Rather, it is just as important for our well-being that we avoid allowing ourselves to become bombarded with negative media. Philippians 4:8-9 reminds us to fix our thoughts on what is “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.”
One way we can do this is simply by meditating on God and His goodness, consuming His Word so that we will be filled with His light. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant in Matthew 6:22 when He said, “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light.”
Remember that you are a child of God and He cares for you.
If you have, or once had, small children, wouldn’t you be surprised to find them in a frenzy, worrying over how you will provide for their next meal? I wonder if this is how crazy we appear to our Heavenly Father at times too. After all, He has promised to care and provide for His children. Does this mean we are excused from the responsibilities of life? Of course not! But it does mean that we no longer need to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders.
I wonder how much of our anxieties could be prevented if we learned how to trust in God more than we trusted in ourselves. We are only human, so there is no way we could plan and prepare for everything that comes our way in life—but thankfully, we serve a God who is sovereign. Nothing we face comes as a surprise to Him, and we can trust that, if we seek first His Kingdom, He will then give us everything we need (see Matthew 6:33) and His grace is always sufficient in the face of trials (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Apply the principle for anxiety found in Philippians 4:6-7:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Worrying doesn’t solve anything; in fact, it only results in more inner turmoil. So when we’re tempted to worry over that which we cannot control, why not bring those cares over to the One who can control them instead? As we do this, let’s be sure to season these prayers with thanksgiving, as instructed in this Scripture, because doing this will keep our minds fixed on His goodness and faithfulness. Only then will we experience the only kind of peace that is powerful enough to melt our anxieties. This leads us to the final point, which is…
After all, this is “God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18). As we keep our hearts and minds full of praise to Him, we won’t have any room left for anxiety to enter. The good news is that we will never run out of reasons to praise Him—nor will our praises ever come close to giving Him the glory He deserves. Praising Him will also help us apply 2 Corinthians 4:18, which says, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
We know this life will be gone within the blink of an eye compared to eternity. This means that our burdens ultimately have no power to harm us. And when this world passes, we will be at home with Jesus, glorifying Him throughout all of eternity. Our true life is with Him, not in this world. Besides, since we are citizens of heaven, does this world and its cares really have ultimate authority over us? Of course not! Paul couldn’t have said it any better in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”
As we approach unknown paths on the road ahead, let’s cling to the hand of our guide, trusting that He knows every step of the way before us. And when we find ourselves caught up in the whirlwinds of life, let’s allow the comfort of His nearness to grant us the peace we need.
No, just because our hand remains in His doesn’t mean we will be kept safe from every threat of danger, but it does mean we will have His light in the face of darkness. We are covered by the blood of the lamb, so nothing in this world has the power to snatch us away from God’s presence; why, then, should we allow our hearts to become troubled?
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/AaronAmat
Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who wrote her debut novel when she was sixteen. She is now a multi-published author of both fiction and non-fiction inspirational yet authentic books for teens, including her latest release, LOVE YOUR SELFIE (October 2020, Ellie Claire). Tessa's passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as a Literary Agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. She is guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 128 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, teaching at writing conferences, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is to connect with readers is on her mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.
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