So Jesus is talking with His disciples, the setting is the last supper after Judas left to prepare for Christ’ betrayal and arrest. The entire conversation is recorded in John 14, again, after Judas left the room. The main reason for this had more to do with what Jesus was saying and the audience He was saying it to; true believers. He talks about how He is going to prepare a place for each of us in heaven (vs.1-4). Jesus explains that He is the only way to the Father and how He and the Father are One (vs.6-11). He talked about answered prayer and praying God’s will for given situations (vs.12-14). He shared how He was going to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to them, but for that to happen, He had to leave first. He said that He would not leave us as orphans, and that He will come to us (vs.15-18). He expressed that in a short while He was going to leave them, but that they should obey His commandments as an expression of their love for the Lord; further stating that anyone who doesn’t obey the Lord does not love the Lord (vs.19-24). Jesus stated how the Helper, the Holy Spirit, will help them remember all that they have learned and that He will give them peace. Well let’s just read that part together.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.” – John 14:27,28
- Jesus said that the peace that He gives is not as the world gives. Then He gave us a command to ‘not let our heart be troubled, neither left it be afraid.’ This command is consistent with the expectation that God has for us as His children. He wants us to respond to His love by placing our faith and trust in Him to the point that we won’t be troubled or afraid; rather, we will rejoice in Him.
I can tell you that I have failed in this department many times and I am still learning to trust and obey. I must work have having a level of faith where anxiety, stress, worry, doubt, and confusion are not part of my spiritual life formation. Jesus told us what this world would look like just prior to the Rapture; He made it crystal clear and He told us how we, as believers in Him, were to properly respond.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” – Matthew 24:6
David said it this way, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.” – Psalm 37:7-9
It would seem the command to not fret, be worried, or even be troubled is clear. We wouldn’t worry if our faith was as secure in the Lord as it needs to be. Sometimes this takes a focused and intentional discipline to get to this place of faith and peace in the Lord.
Jesus expressed to His disciples, “You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.” – John 14:28
Jesus is coming back to us, very soon. We must stop worrying about all of the things going on in the world that are totally out of our control and start rejoicing because Jesus is coming back for us. He went to the Father, He has been interceding on our behalf, and now He is coming to get His bride, His Church. If we really believed this, we would not even worry about what’s coming down the pike, but we would stand fast, and experience first hand the deliverance of the Lord, in this case, the Rapture. If you are worried or anxious about all that is happening in the world, the fear porn and ominous reports about collapsing economies, food supplies shortages, and military attacks, might I remind you that we march to the beat of a different drum; the Master’s drum.
The Apostle Paul said it this way, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:6-9
- There are a lot of things in this life that can get us worked up about, however, nothing supersedes the power of God’s Word as it relates to keeping our thought life in line with our faith. We can imagine a lot of potential negative outcomes in life and in any given situation, however, we need to pray and think about positive outcomes that will bring glory and honor to God. In other words, we need to stop worrying and start rejoicing, Jesus is coming soon!
The Prophet Isaiah said it this way, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind (wild imaginations) is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength (the Rock of Ages).” – Isaiah 26:3,4
- Sometimes my wild imagination gets the better part of me and I have to remind myself that if I can keep that part of my mind in check, than the Lord will provide the necessary peace and strength that He has for me as I place my faith and trust in Him.
The idea of rejoicing has more to do with dancing and celebrating the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. This can be done in any number of ways, but the best way is to give God all the glory and honor that He is due for all of the things that He has done for us. Although I am grateful for the many blessings from the Lord, I am more excited about being ushered into His presence at the Rapture.
My heart breaks for the lost of this world, and while I want to share my faith with as many as who will listen, alas, I can only reach those who are willing to listen, repent, change, and grow. It’s obvious to me that many of my brothers and sisters are worried and anxious about the many things occurring in this world. All I can say is that we are to pray and be the best witness that we can for the Lord in the way and manner that He has provided for us. Be strong man (and lady) of God, the Lord will guide you as you lead your family in righteousness.
I close this blog with a word of encouragement. Rejoice in the Lord, His joy is your strength. When you go to church on Sunday, be sure to lift your hands in worship and sing to the Lord whatever song they are playing, even if you don’t know it. Be sure to go to the alter after the sermon is over and pray, even if there was no invitation. God is there and He will change you as you approach His altar. There is a practical side of not worrying and intentionally rejoicing and it’s usually centered around the tangible choice that we must make as men to stop doing one thing (worrying) and start doing another thing (rejoicing). The phrase, ‘don’t worry be happy’ would apply here, but only if you know the Lord; otherwise, it’s just a distraction to keep you off base.
Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northern Missouri. He lives with his wife of 33-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren). Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate. He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry.