Friday, May 12, 2017

John 14:1-14 The Cure for Anxiety

KEY TEXT: John 14:1-4 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  And you know the way to where I am going."

KEY THOT: The antidote for anxiety is faith: "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me" (v.1). Jesus admonishes us not to be troubled in our hearts. Anxiety is the root of stress. And the root of anxiety is a "troubled" heart. The Greek for "troubled" is tarraso, which can be translated as stirred up, agitated. In Thayer's Lexicon it is defined as "to cause one inward commotion, take away calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity; to disquiet, make restless"--in short, anxiety, which is an absence of peace. The cure for anxiety is to "believe in God" and "believe also in me". Faith is not only believing God but also believing that Jesus speaks and acts as God, not just like God. So, we must take His teaching seriously--not selectively.

So what does it mean to believe "in" Jesus as God? Jesus starts off by saying, "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" Most of our anxiety is caused by over-preoccupation with worldly cares and concerns, primarily about getting a "roof over our head". But for many this sense of anxiety extends beyond just getting a shelter but also the kind of shelter we live in. When we were poor living in clan villages, we were happy just to have an attap or zinc roof over our heads. But with the advent of affluence, we are no longer content with a roof over our head, but we are anxious about what kind of roof is over us. We work hard to "upgrade" continually, putting ourselves into a debt situation until we retire. The resulting financial stress causes families and marriages to break down in pursuit of the Almighty Dollar to pay for this "roof over our head".

But Jesus says that we should look beyond this life. Whatever roof we have over our heads, it's can only be for 99 years or 999 years. But one day, when Christ returns all these "free-hold" lands and leases will turn into smoke. Instead of just worrying about getting a roof over our head on earth for 99 years, we should be focusing on getting a house in the kingdom of God where it is not for 99 years or 999 years. Not even for 9999 years but for ever and ever. When we are so caught up with this life and forget that this life is just a dress-rehearsal for the real thing, we make ourselves anxious and troubled. We forget to set our sights on things above, but instead focus our whole purpose in life on acquiring things on earth.

Resetting our focus on things above rather than things below is the cure for anxiety. And for that to happen, we must believe what Jesus said about his mission to die for our sins so that we can get a room in the Father's house: "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth" (Colossians 3:1-2).

Father, help us set our hearts on the things of God, so that our hearts may not be troubled by what is happening to us and around us. In Jesus' name, amen.

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