…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
— John 14:27
I’ll never forget the day waves of panic rolled through me as we were reconstructing a big building as a permanent home for our church in Moscow. Paying for the building had itself already required the most miraculous level of faith I had ever experienced. When we started the project, we estimated what it would cost to reconstruct the facility. However, we didn’t know in the beginning of the process that the floors and columns of the entire building would have to be reinforced to hold the weight of the balcony we were adding to the building.
When I learned of the additional costs associated with reinforcing the floors and columns, a sense of panic surged through my whole being. Alarm, dread, horror — all these words could describe the emotions that tried to grip my soul. Within seconds, I felt cold sweat and heat simultaneously flushing across my face, neck, ears, and upper chest. It felt like I had to somehow get hold of myself or I would fall to pieces.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
There was one thing I knew in that moment: allowing panic to get hold of me was not going to change the situation! So I politely excused myself from the meeting where the facts and figures were being presented to me, and I took a walk by myself to catch my breath and bring my soul into submission before fearful emotions could wreak havoc with my peace.
As we proceeded to move forward on that building project, I had to face those same tumultuous emotions more than once. Taking a walk by myself to bring my soul into submission became a very familiar practice en route to completing that project. During those times, I learned to turn to Jesus’ words in John 14:27, where He said, “…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” These words proved to be of great comfort to me in those times when my soul was tempted to give way to fear and trepidation.
As I’m sure you personally know, there is perhaps nothing more tormenting than to go through your daily life with a troubled heart. It can make you wallow in tumultuous feelings of worry, inadequacy, or regret. It can tear you up emotionally and steal your joy. And when fear is added to the mix, it can escalate your troubled state to an even higher level of anxiety. That’s why it’s so important that you take Jesus’ words deep into your heart that you do not ever have to live with a troubled and fearful heart.
Jesus said, “…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). The word “troubled” is the Greek word taresso, which is used in various places in the New Testament to mean to shake, to trouble, to disquiet, to unsettle, to perplex, to cause anxiety, or even to cause feelings of grief. It is the picture of someone feeling inwardly shaken, unsettled, confused, and upset. If you’ve felt that way, you know exactly I mean!
Often when these troubling emotions begin to work in the soul, they open the door to other negative emotions and eventually pull you over into the realm of fear. That’s why it is so important to bring the soul into submission before this happens. This is precisely why Jesus continued to say, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
The word “afraid” is from the word deilos, and depicts a gripping fear or dread that produces a shrinking back or cowardice. In essence, it saps your ability to look at the problem head-on and causes you to retreat into your own mode of self-preservation — which, in effect, is cowardice or the lack of courage to face what is before you.
This word deilos is the same Greek word that Paul used in Second Timothy 1:7 when he told Timothy, “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Timothy was facing real problems at the time Paul wrote this verse to him. His problems were not imaginary. Nevertheless, Paul didn’t want Timothy’s emotions to be in bondage to a spirit of fear that would turn him into a coward. Shrinking back from reality wouldn’t help the younger minister or anyone else involved in the situation. So Paul told Timothy that his being subject to a sense of fear or panic was not the will of God, for the Lord had given him spiritual equipment of an entirely different nature — a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind!
With this in mind, look again at the words of Jesus in John 14:27, which can convey this idea:
“Don’t let your heart be torn up by things that unsettle you, neither let it be taken with fear that causes you to shrink back into cowardice.”
How well Jesus understands what you and I are facing! We were not created to be torn up in our emotions! That’s why we must quickly learn to grab hold of our emotions and tell ourselves, I wasn’t made for this! I refuse to allow this sense of panic and fear to get hold of me! Jesus is Lord over every situation I commit to Him, and that includes the one I’m looking at right now!
In moments when fear has tried to grip me, and I admit it has happened multiple times over the years, I’ve learned to run to John 14:27 and to rehearse the words of Jesus to myself over and over again. Jesus knows us. He knew what we’d be facing in life, so He instructed us in advance on how to deal with it!
Allowing yourself to stay in a state of feeling troubled, upset, and fearful won’t help you in life. In fact, it will hinder you in running the race God has set before you! So take Jesus’ words very seriously and refuse to let your heart be troubled. Jesus wouldn’t tell you to do something you couldn’t do, so you can know that you are well able to make that choice!
Don’t allow yourself to yield to fear in any form. You have the spirit of power and love and a sound mind working in you. That means you are well able to grab hold of any negative emotions and pull them in line with God’s Word, even in a situation that challenges you to the core. You can just settle it for yourself today: You are not of those who shrink back (see Hebrews 10:39). No, you’re among those who bring their souls into submission to God’s Word and live as overcomers in this life!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I acknowledge that I’ve allowed myself to get into a troubled state of heart and soul. Circumstances have left me feeling shaken and upset, and I haven’t dealt with those feelings according to the Word. As a result, a door was opened to a spirit of fear that is now trying to call the shots in my life. I repent, because it is sin for me not to trust You, and I ask You to please forgive me for allowing these negative emotions to find a place to take up residence in my life. So now I open my heart for the Holy Spirit to infuse me with the power I need to take authority over the spirit of fear and tell it to leave me once and for all.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that my heart, mind, and emotions are not made to be a refuge for fear and intimidation to take up residence in me and torment me. I refuse to nurse these negative emotions any longer or to let them operate inside my soul! I have tolerated fear too long! I refuse to retreat into a toxic state of isolation and self-preservation. God has too many things for me to do in this life to waste a moment in torment and fear, so I’m moving forward by faith to defeat the enemy’s strategy against me today. I do it in the power of the Holy Spirit and with the name of Jesus!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of an experience when a spirit of fear tried to grab hold of you? What did you do to break its grip on your soul?
- If you had a friend who was being torn up emotionally and mentally by a spirit of fear, what would you advise that friend to do? Have you taken this advice for yourself?
- Do you know someone who is dealing with a troubled heart or being tormented by thoughts of fear right now? What should you do to help that person get victory over that situation?