We're currently looking at how we can overcome challenges and difficult circumstances. We don’t have to be overcome by the things that the world is overcome by but rather we can overcome them!
John 14:1 says, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.”
Jesus is speaking to his disciples who are about to go through the biggest tragedy that people have ever gone through. And that is to see their hope, their messiah, their rabbi, their friend, be crucified and killed. All their hope was in this man, and now he's going to be crucified. And so Jesus knowing this, aims to prepare them for it. So now he's teaching them and preparing them for it by saying, “let not your heart be troubled.” Did you know that you do not have to be troubled by what's going on around you and what's happening to you? Why? Well, it’s because you can trust in God and trust in Jesus – that’s faith. Faith will cause you to overcome the situation that you're up against. Faith can help you get through whatever things you're facing. And you might be saying, “well, Shayne, you sound very idealistic! In the real world things don't work out like you're saying!” Well, you can choose to live in the real world if you like, but I choose to live in the kingdom realm and according to the kingdom standards, and because of that things always work out for me. Yeah, things might go wrong, things might fail, but at the same time, overall, I always win. I'm busy developing that mentality into my sons right now. They're three and five years old and I'm trying to get them into this mentality of you, “you can do anything with God's help, and you can always win.” I want them to expect that in their lives.
John 14:1, “Don’t let your heart be troubled because of your faith in God.” Psalm 46 is all about how it doesn't matter what happens around us – heaven and earth can give away, but God is our refuge. He's our strength. He's our help in times of trouble. God is not out trouble, He is our very present help in time of trouble! It doesn't matter what you're going through. You need to know that God is not the author of your problems right now. Your bad situation may be because of your bad decisions, or it might be the enemy just attacking you, or it could possibly be the enemy working through other people and causing them to dislike you. But the reality is that God is not causing your suffering. He's not the one putting you through hell and back. He is the answer to your problems but He is not your problem. He is your ever-present help in time of trouble. He's not the cause of the trouble in your life. He's your help in times of trouble.
Just because you're Christian doesn't mean that you're going to have a trouble-free life – you can't live a trouble-free life but you can live a troubled-free life! You can live a life where the things that are coming against you cannot just can't steal your joy; they just don't get to you. You can experience perfect peace in the middle of a storm. Think about it. Jesus was in the middle of a storm with his disciples. Jesus was fast asleep on the boat. The disciples were panicking. They thought they were going to die. So much so that they work of Jesus and I and said to him, “aren't you concerned that we're all going to drown and die?” And He just turns to the wind and the waves and says, “peace be still”, and everything changes.
We tend to panic at so many things rather than just using the solution, the answer to the problem and dealing with the problem that's against us. We've got the authority of Christ. We can deal with problems that are coming against it. But before you even start to use your authority and start to try and deal with situations, you need to deal with yourself first and don’t allow your heart to be troubled!
Philippians 4:4-8 is such a good scripture to meditate on with regard to challenging circumstances. If you want to operate the way the world operates and just feel like the world feels, then you're going to fail and you're going to fail miserably. You will fall apart regularly and you will live in defeat! But you don’t have to! Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always again, I say rejoice.” And then in verse six it says, “be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” And that's just saying how we need to rely on God, trust in him, no matter what the situation is, talk to him “and the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Through our relationship with God we can experience perfect peace. It goes on and says “finally brethren, whatsoever things are true whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, are pure, lovely, virtuous, worthy of praise and of good report. Think on these things.” And this is basically a recipe of how you can experience perfect peace!
If you do not want to fall apart in the middle of a tragedy and become an emotional wreck, and if you want to get through it then you have to choose to focus on the right things. Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusts in thee. Trust in the Lord Forever for the Lord Jehovah is ever lasting strength.” God wants to be your strength but if you want perfect peace you have to keep your mind is fixed on him, stayed on him and trusting in him. No matter what the circumstances, no matter how bad things are going, you need to keep your heart and your mind fixed on God and his promises. The more you focus on his promises, the more you're going to start to trust him. It becomes easier to trust him. The more you trust him, the more perfect peace you'll have.
Do you want to get to that place and live in that place of continual rest where nothing stresses you out because you know God is looking after you; that He's got your back? Well, it happens because of the truth that you know and focus on. You need to keep your heart and your mind fixed on God, fixed on his promises, fixed on his love for you. And you will see great things happen in your life. You will see perfect peace manifested and nothing will be able to steal your joy and nothing will be able to derail you or get your focus off from where you should be focusing because you're just solid in Christ.