I had the most amazing weekend. My heart is so full this morning that I am afraid it will literally burst with joy.
Because of the power of my feelings right now, I spent a little time last night and this morning reflecting on the ways in which I react to life.
Both during times of joy and abundance…
as well as during times of stress and hardship.
When I got really quiet and asked my daily question, ” What do you want me to know today?”
Almost immediately the scripture from (John 14:27) came to mind. “Do not let your HEARTS be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Now to really understand the power of this particular verse we need to remember when Jesus spoke this to his disciples. He is desperately trying to prepare them for his upcoming crucifixion. They still don’t believe he’s leaving them.
When this verse came to mind this morning, my immediate thought was….WAIT- Do not LET your heart be troubled?
We have a choice?
We actually LET our hearts be troubled?
I have always thought it was the other way around – that trouble strikes in some form or other, and our hearts simply respond by being troubled.
I’ll bet this is how you look at it too!
Trouble descends on you: your house is robbed, or your child becomes pregnant, you lose a job, whatever…and you REACT!
In that moment are you thinking, ” This doesn’t have to take me out. I’m not going to let my heart be troubled?”
We grow up believing that a troubled heart is just part of life, an unavoidable consequence, appropriate even.
But Jesus is calmly sitting there talking to his closest friends about his coming torture, his death, and following that his departure from them.
On a scale of personal crisis…THIS IS A TEN!
Yet he says, don’t let your hearts be troubled.
Friends, this is really important to try to comprehend.
He is telling them, and us, that we have a CHOICE in what our hearts give way to.
How much truer this is when it comes to choosing goodness.
Have you ever stopped to consider the ramifications of this truth?
We can choose how our heart responds to life!
That is a huge piece of the puzzle we call CONTENTMENT.
After I sat and pondered this scripture for a few minutes, I began to wonder if there were other scriptures that said something similar about choosing our emotions.
I found a few more.
(Proverbs 24:17) Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.
And I thought, DANG – I love to rejoice. I don’t get to indulge this habit any more? apparently, I can choose not to be such a mean-spirited creep when my enemy fails.
(Psalm 62:10) Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
It is my default nature when I get a raise, or a sudden windfall, to say to myself, now I will be Okay…But that is placing my hope in myself and not in the Lord, and that is wrong.
There were several others I found, but I think we are starting to get the point. The Lord is VERY clear that we can control our emotions.
How many times have you bought into the lie that “troubled heart” equals natural and human response to my world?
We actually have a say in worry, fear, anxiety, and all their cousins.
This is HUGE because these things almost always lead to some kind of false comforter/addiction/unbelief/medication/scrambling.
In (Hebrews 4:7) we are told, ” Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.
I don’t know about you, but there is a BIG part of me right now that is not liking this truth very much. I am not sure how I feel about having to shepherd my own heart.
In so many ways it seems easier to just allow myself to REACT to life.
But the point I think needs to be made here is this: God says we have a choice.
The big lie of sin is that it is inevitable.
This feels so true most of the time especially when we are angry at some perceived injustice that has been done to us.
Or when we suffer a loss, and feel like it was so unfair; we immediatly start looking for a scapegoat to blame it on.
But here is the really good news about us having a choice in all of these emotions and our own sinful nature; when the feelings of anxiety/rage/envy/deceitfulness/etc. come rushing in, and feels as if it is going to have its way with your heart…that is when you can choose to stop it dead in its tracks.
We DO have an option.
We can choose our feelings because of all the work Christ has done FOR us and WITHIN us.
What I loved the most about reading these passages was realizing that I DO have a choice about what I let in…
and what I choose to keep out.
What I am willing to “GO WITH” …
and what I don’t want to “GO WITH”.
The new model of righteousness that Jesus taught us is one that flows from the inside out – from the Heart.
Rather than focusing on technical rule- keeping did I give 10% this month, stop at yellow lights, return that pencil to work?- Jesus was more concerned that we were shepherding our hearts throughout the day.
What if a person at work gets fired and something in you rejoices. You realize that in fact a part of you hated them?
Should you feel guilty, and berate yourself?
OR…Do you have a different choice you can make?
According to the scriptures we should STOP the instant we recognize a sinful thought and immediately ask forgiveness and pray to be filled with His Holiness.
We simply need to say, ” Oh Father, forgive me. I renounce this hatred. Give me your holiness here, right here, toward this person.”
This same principle works with food cravings/ lies/gossiping/any sinful thought or action can be immediately stopped in the moment it rears its ugly head by calling on the One who took your sins upon Himself.
He paid the price for our freedom, and it is the best and most respectful thing we can do to honor Him when we take advantage of His gift.
So today, spend some time alone in quiet meditation and consider this truth-
The direction of your heart is NOT inevitable.
This is an absolutely wonderful thing.