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Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

By Dave Breese

One of the most well-known and moving conversations in the New Testament contains the promise of Christ to His own that is wonderful indeed. Speaking to that inner circle of true believers, Christ addressed them in the midst of a very anxious set of circumstances. He had been speaking to His disciples about the present and the future and even about the fact that He, in His physical presence, would be leaving them. He had discussed the matter of the betrayal of one of the disciples and the temporary failure of another. This conversation took place in the midst of a set of concerns not unlike the ones we often face.

In these concerns, however, Christ makes His disciples the beautiful promise that they never, never need to be overly concerned. Their hearts were to be an island of tranquility in the midst of whatever adverse circumstances they would find coming upon them. All of this and more is meant in the statement of Christ to His beloved friends, “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). They were never to see themselves as pressed beyond measure or live without proper cause for rejoicing. The Christian is allowed to be sad, but only very temporarily. What then were these disciples to do as an alternative to yielding to the frustration and sorrow that trouble often brings?

The first and most foundational alternative to trouble given by Christ to these was “believe in God” (John 14:1). Yes, He reminded the disciples of their faith in the God Who stands above the universe and Who will never suffer His foot to be moved. They were to trust the everlasting Father Who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. The beginning of a serene, confident life is to stand with absolute faith on the foundation of it all, believing in God. The theists have a rock on which to build everything, whereas the atheists—God pity them—have no invisible means of support.

Having established this foundation of faith in God, then the Lord Jesus says, “believe also in me.” In this, the disciples were reminded that they must believe that the living and true God has produced a bridge to humanity. That bridge is Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). The Bible clearly teaches that one does not properly believe in God who does not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God. We are thereby reminded that theism is not necessarily saving faith. Rather, we are saved by faith in the deity of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. God is believed in in many ways in our time, but the issue that produces salvation is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Believing in the existence of God is a necessary concomitance to intelligence. Believing in the deity of Jesus Christ is a matter of faith that produces salvation. Confidence comes when we know that God has built that bridge—which is Jesus Christ—from His heart to ours.

Expanding on the call to confidence, Christ now says, “In My Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2). We can therefore be sure that confidence comes when we know that heaven awaits us.

Yes, we may live in mean circumstances in this world. Our homes may be humble and our circumstances very constricting. Remember, the world does not promise more. The notion that automatic prosperity comes as a result of faith—prosperity in this world, that is—is false. Heaven is not here, but heaven awaits us. Being sure of this, we know that whatever they, the world, may do to us in the passing scenes of time, this is not eternal reality. Martin Luther said, “The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still.” The promise that the Father’s house has many mansions should instantly forbid any sort of human despair at our limited means in this world. Confidence comes from a vision of heaven, not from the sad scenes of earth.

To add then to our confidence, Christ promises, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Speaking in the most intimate and warm terms to His disciples, Christ promises that heaven will not be an impersonal abstraction. No, indeed, it is a prepared place for a prepared people in which provision has been made for each of us as individual children of God.

It is well to remember that the preparation of the place in heaven for us has been going on now for nearly two thousand years. The Son of God has been attending to those things. We may therefore truly conclude that our heavenly environs will be marvelous beyond description. There will be streets of gold, pure flowing fountains, the sunlight of God’s presence, and many other things. The hymn writer therefore spoke well when he said,

“A tent or a cottage,
why should I care?
They're building a palace
for me over there.”

It may well be that for many of us there are “just a few more days to be filled with praise,” and then we go to that mansion on high. In that place there will be no tax bills, no sickness, no problems—paradise lies ahead.

Notice then the Savior speaks to His own, saying, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). On hearing these words again, we should be instantly thrilled, electrified, charged with an anticipation about the future, for the future contains the return of Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus Christ is coming again, He has promised it. He is coming to take us unto Himself, so that we can be with Him every day for all of eternity.

In several places in the New Testament, the promise of the return of Christ is repeated. We cannot doubt, therefore, that that promise is to be a source of confidence, solace, comfort, bright anticipation to all of us who know God’s Son as personal Savior.

Surely we are invited to invoke our strongest imagination to picture what heaven will be like. We are in fact commanded to set our affection on things above and not on things of earth.

We fear, therefore, that the disquiet in the hearts of many believers comes because they have taken the opposite course. How sad it is to be enamored of the things of the present world to the extent where heaven becomes an afterthought or a dim, childhood memory.

By this time, most of us should have learned that we cannot trust anything in this world—not the government, not our friends, not the economic system, not the ecclesiastical establishment, not our personal endurance—nothing. Therefore, the center of gravity, the object of the preoccupation of our lives should be heaven. In fact, who can doubt that God sends many tremors through society—the earthquakes, the floods, the hurricanes, the great outbreaks of evil in order to once again remind us that overconfidence in the things of time is not well-placed. Rather, confidence in the things of eternity will bring unshakable strength into our lives. This world cannot steal this from a trusting heart.

May we learn, therefore, and never forget, that the untroubled heart does not come from cooperating human circumstances, it comes from confidence in the Word of God. If Jesus Christ meant what He said to each of us in this marvelous disquisition found in Scripture, that is enough. There is nothing better, nothing higher, nothing more sure than the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. The world one day will come to its end—and many people think this is the beginning of the end. However, because we believe the Word of God, we know that the ephemeral, quickly passing scenes of time will give way to the great reality of eternity. Therefore, we must stand up, we must look out, we must move with confidence because Jesus has told us, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). It's time to move with confidence!

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