Thursday, January 06, 2011

I'm In Control

In a culture where 'personal responsibility' is beginning to look a lot like 'Hollywood accountability,' I'm amazed at how good we've become at trading the burden of wisdom and maturity with the catch-phrase of the hour.

No longer are we held accountable for bullying people on the roadways because 'road-rage' has become an acceptable excuse.

We can punch that obnoxious co-worker in the face or allow a child to be grossly defiant and disrespectful as long as we're quick to remind people that they have 'anger management' issues. 

We don't have to get out of bed in the morning if we're 'down,' we don't have to tell the truth if we're 'habitual liars,' we're not required to make right choices if we're 'struggling' or 'down on our luck.'

Well, that's all well and good.  It makes life a lot easier to know that the goal of life is to preach wisdom and maturity without ever having to live it.   But, there's a big problem with our 'find-a-catchy-phrase-for-it-so-that-I-don't-have-to-be-held-accountable-lifestyle,' and that problem's name is Jesus.

Jesus, when speaking to his best friends once told them, "Do not allow your hearts be troubled..." We've read it countless times and if you're like me, you didn't pay it too much thought.   As a matter of fact, it didn't come to mean a lot to me until my heart was troubled.  Then, I camped out at this verse and let the Word speak to me and show me things I didn't know.

It's easy to digest those words when all is well and life is grand, but what about when the 'low' you find yourself in is as close to hell as life on earth comes?  Jesus, when He said these words, wasn't speaking in generalities or giving a one-liner in an encouragement class.  He wasn't standing on the top of a mountain with one hand pointing out the splendor of His Father's Creation and another resting on His chest as he explained all we had to be thankful for.  As a matter of fact, He wasn't talking to a group of strangers and He wasn't giving 'good' news at all.

John chapter 14 paints a picture of Christ telling a story that must have been painful, not only for Him, but also for the men who had left everything to follow the One they loved.  Standing before Peter, Jesus tries to shed light on the fact that while Peter is proclaiming an undying allegiance, he'll actually deny the One he loves the best only hours before he sees His corpse.

Can you grasp how terrible that news was to Peter?  Put yourself in his shoes for a moment and try to feel the weight of what Jesus was trying to make him understand.  In a matter of hours, Peter would turn his back on his own heart and deny knowing the Man who radically changed his life and destiny.  And as if that weren't bad enough, before Peter would have a chance to make things right, Jesus, his Savior and best friend, would die a criminal's death without him by His side.  And while Peter may have had a hard time understanding this, Jesus knew it well and gave Peter this advice:

"Do not allow your heart to be troubled..."

Wow.  Surely Jesus meant to say something else, right?  (I mean, it's not like He said it twice or anything, right?) Surely something got lost in translation because if Jesus really said that to Peter, well, that would mean that Jesus knew Peter was in control of his own emotions.  If Jesus, the sinless Savior, really told his dear friend, "You're going to betray me on my deathbed, but I'm telling you not to allow your heart to be troubled," then that means Peter, you and I have control over our emotions.  We tell them what to do.  We allow or refuse them.   It means we make conscious decisions to run people off the road.  It means we punch that guy at the office because we've been dreaming about it for months.  It means that we don't get out of bed because, well, because we don't have to.  We lie.  We cheat.  We steal.  And we do so because we choose so, not because we've fallen victim to some emotional toxin that we 'catch' at the local mall or because we didn't wash our hands at Whataburger.

"Don't let your hearts..."

What is it that you've allowed your heart to feel that you know Jesus would advise against?  It's within your power to take it back, you know?  Maybe Jesus is whispering the same request of you that He is of me.  "Don't let your heart care more about what they think than what I do."  Or maybe it's something else...

Don't let your heart wreck your life with anger...

Don't let your heart disengage from your family...

Don't let your heart turn against those who tell you the truth...

Don't let your heart be lazy...

Don't let your heart fortify habits that will steal peace from your children...

Don't let your heart believe that excuses are your friend...

Don't let your heart shut its door to the lost...

Don't let your heart look in the mirror all day...

Don't let your heart become prideful, deceitful, ungrateful...

Do you get it?  That heart of ours, it's just that- OURS.  When I'm mad, it's because I choose to be mad.  The same is true when I'm joyful or thankless, happy or sad, mean or pleasant, lazy or diligent, fearful or faithful.  Jesus said I am in control of my emotions, even during the worst of times.  With this knowledge comes the evaporation of every excuse I've ever used to throw a temper-tantrum, every reason I've ever given to back out of something I was afraid of, and every catch-phrase I've ever adopted to give me the pleasure of being wicked in the moment. 

And it means the same for you, my dear friends.

Don't let your hearts be....

Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in Me.  John 14:1
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27


  1. Wonderful post! I am very happy to have found your blog. I look forward to following and reading more insightful posts. God bless you.

  2. Awesome! I relate to so much of this post! Thanks for sharing with such grace and heartfelt knowledge!

  3. Love this! Thanks for posting Sue! Such an awesome one and I always look forward to your postings.
    We do have control over our emotions, even though it may be hard! Allow our hearts to be purely controlled by God!

  4. Thanks...obviously an "on time" word for me! Such precious wisdom :D

  5. "Don't let your heart..." we can because He told us too. Praise the Lord!


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