John 14:1 - Dealing with Adversity and Stress

April 22, 2017

The events leading up to the cross—and Jesus’ words about leaving them—had shaken the disciples and Jesus knew it.  Their souls had become troubled and Jesus sought to stabilize them by strengthening their faith.  The word troubled translates the Greek verb ταράσσω tarasso, which means “to cause inward turmoil, stir up, disturb, unsettle, throw into confusion.[1]  The passive form of the verb means they had received troubling circumstances into their souls.  The pressures of life are inevitable and none of us are completely impervious to them.  Even Jesus—in His humanity—was troubled when facing the cross (John 12:27; 13:21); however, He was sustained by keeping focus on the Father’s will (John 4:34; 5:30; John 6:38; cf. Matt. 26:39), and there was joy in the midst of the trial (Heb. 12:2).  Each believer is responsible for what he/she allows to enter their heart (Prov. 4:23).  Adversity is unavoidable, but how we handle it is optional.  The believer cannot always control negative circumstances, but neither does he/she have to be controlled by them.  God’s Word—applied by faith—provides a shield for the soul that can stabilize the believer in times of adversity (Eph. 6:16; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; 1 John 5:4). Mental and emotional stability is obtained when the believer looks to God (Prov. 3:5-6; Isa. 26:3-4; Jer. 17:7-8), learns His Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18), walks in dependence on the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16, 25), lives by faith (Heb. 10:38; 11:1, 6), becomes thankful for adversity (Rom. 5:3-5; Eph. 5:20; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Jam. 1:2-4), develops a discipline of prayer (Col. 4:2; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Thess. 5:17), and learns to focus on God in everything (2 Cor. 10:5; Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:1-2).

 

[1] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 990.

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