I’ve had a lot of opportunities over the years to make a decision about something in my life. I bet you have too. Draw a line in the sand. This is it. I’m going to change ______. And then what happens? I go home. I get distracted. I get tired and worn out. I forget. Or I just don’t want to any more. Kind of like the New Year’s Resolution that we chose to keep to ourselves “just in case” it didn’t work out. Our intentions may have been good in the moment, but when the rubber meets the road, life is hard and the status quo is a whole lot easier than following through on the decisions we made.
Yep, life is hard. Jesus never said, “Believe in me and your life will be a piece of cake.” Nope. Actually, he said just the opposite: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Trouble? That’s not what I signed up for. But what if the trouble isn’t really our trouble?
In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Do not let your hearts be troubled. Now that’s an interesting twist. In this world we will have trouble, but how do we keep that trouble from invading our hearts?
In the first verse of John 16, Jesus says, “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith.” What “things” did he tell us? Just two verses before that, Jesus said, “But I will send you the Advocate — the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.” (John 15:26)
Ok. There’s our answer. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, so that we won’t abandon our faith. And he spends most of John 14, 15 and 16 giving us more details about why he is sending the Holy Spirit and what his purpose will be.
John 14:26 summarizes his purpose: “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” Why is it so important that we be reminded of what Jesus said? Because “in this world we will have trouble,” but Jesus has given us his peace. If we forget about his peace, that trouble will invade our hearts and we will live in fear instead of in his peace. And that decision we made to change _______? That will go right out the window. Too much trouble.
I’m often reminded of a quote by Tim Keller based on 2 Peter 1:3-15. Pastor Keller summed up that passage in that “we are always either remembering or forgetting what God has done.” He’s absolutely right. We could nail down every moment of life as either a “forgetting” moment (turning away from God) or a “remembering” moment (turning to Him). God has sent us His Holy Spirit to remind us of what He has done, is doing and will continue to do. And He did this so that we would not “abandon our faith” and turn away from Him, even in times of trouble or fear or weakness or struggle.
So, the next time we feel challenged to make a decision, big or small, to make a change in our lives, how about we decide to keep deciding? We know that life will get hard. We know we’ll get tired, distracted and irritated and we’ll turn away from God. We may “abandon our faith” a zillion times each day, but He never abandons us. He is always faithful. He never turns away from us.
Our trouble is that we turn away from the only One who can really help us. Thankfully, we can decide to turn around. Decide again. Decide anew. We can keep the trouble of this world from invading our hearts by remembering God’s peace, His goodness and His love for us. “His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:23)
But don’t wait til morning. We can turn around right now. He’s waiting with open arms.
Don’t believe me? Check this out: The Face of Grace