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Putting story into your life, and life into your story

In his new book, Let God Change Your Life: How to Know and Follow Jesus, evangelist Greg Laurie describes the factors that impact true life change in clear, practical, and thoroughly biblical terms. His conclusions will challenge Christians to trade in their passive preconceptions about God for an active faith that reflects the image of Christ. A call to shed the skin of cultural Christianity, Let God Change Your Life details the transformation that occurs when we take what Christ really said and live as if His words were actually true.

 

God’s Cure for Heart Trouble
Taken from Let God Change Your Life by Greg Laurie.
Permission must be requested for reprint.

Copyright 2011 Greg Laurie. Let God Change Your Life published by David C Cook.
Publisher permission required to reproduce in any way. All rights reserved.

 

Have you ever felt so stressed out that it seemed like everything was going wrong—all at once? Then, when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse, they did? Or, let me put it another way: Do you have kids? And more specifically, do you have teenagers? If so, you know what I’m talking about.

One of the downsides of the information age, in which we have our iPhones, BlackBerrys, Treos, and other devices that can send and receive the latest data, is that we are constantly barraged by information. This information gives us even more to stress out about. And stress is serious stuff. Studies have suggested that high levels of stress can lead to obesity and trigger a raft of diseases, from heart attacks to ulcers. Depression, nervous breakdowns, and even cancer can be stress related. In the United States, up to 90 percent of visits to physicians may be triggered by a stress related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We all stress out about the many frightening things in our world today. Since 9/11, there are certain fears all Americans share. A March 2005 Associated Press article stated, “Though the Soviet Union is gone, the nuclear fears that fueled the Cold War haven’t disappeared. Most Americans think nuclear weapons are so dangerous that no country should have them.”

North Korea claims to possess nuclear weapons and to be manufacturing more. Iran is widely believed to be within months of developing such weapons. And lurking in the background is the threat that worries U.S. officials the most: the desire on the part of terrorists to acquire nuclear weapons. Fifty-three percent of Americans think a nuclear attack by terrorists is at least somewhat likely.

That brings us stress, worry, and fear.

You may know someone who has a fear of heights, small spaces, or flying. But according to a Time magazine cover article on the topic of fear, people have phobias for just about everything imaginable. According to the article, over fifty million people in the U.S. have some kind of fear or phobia. Some are pretty unusual, if not slightly humorous. For example, there is kathisophobia, the fear of sitting; ablutophobia, the fear of bathing; dentophobia, the fear of dentists; allodoxaphobia, the fear of opinions; and cyclophobia, the fear of bicycles.

And they get even weirder. There is alektorophobia, the fear of chickens; anuptaphobia, the fear of staying single; arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth; automatonophobia, the fear of ventriloquist dummies; ecclesiophobia, the fear of church; ouranophobia, the fear of heaven; and peladophobia, the fear of baldness and/or bald people.

Finally, there is my personal favorite: phobophobia, which is the fear of phobias.

Perhaps your life is filled with fear, worry, and intense stress of some kind right now. Without a doubt, life is certainly filled with troubles. The book of Job tells us, “Man is born to trouble” (Job 5:7).

Disappointment is a trouble, and in life there are many disappointments. We are disappointed with ourselves, because we are not always what we want to be. We want to be strong, but we are weak. We want to be successful, yet we experience many failures. We want to be loved, but people are often indifferent toward us.

Circumstances can also be a source of trouble: the loss of a job, relationship issues, events not going the way we want them to, or even uncertainty about the future. All these things can cause us stress and fear.

But my intention here is not to add to your stress. Instead, I want to share with you the words of Jesus to a stressed-out, agitated people.

This is God’s cure for heart trouble:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in
God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are
many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told
you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come again and
receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you
may be also. And where I go you know, and the
way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we
do not know where You are going, and how can we
know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way,
the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me.” (John 14:1–6)

When Jesus spoke these words, His disciples were afraid.

He had just revealed that Judas Iscariot would betray Him, and that Simon Peter would deny Him. Then He dropped the bombshell: He was going to leave them! They didn’t understand that He would die on the cross for them and that He would soon live in their hearts. They only heard the part about Him leaving.

And that caused stress, worry, and fear. So the phrase He utters, let not your heart be troubled, in verse 1 could be translated, “Don’t be agitated, disturbed, or thrown into confusion.” Or, “Don’t let your heart shudder!” Or even more casually, “Relax!” Troubled is a strong word. Jesus told the disciples, in light of the imminent cross, “It may look like your world is falling apart and that darkness will overtake you, but don’t let your heart be troubled!” Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “Mull over your problems a bit.” Instead, He said, “Don’t be troubled.” And then He laid out three reasons why.

As Christians, regardless of what cause we may have to be troubled, there is greater cause not to be.

This brings us to God’s first cure for heart trouble: His Word is true. Jesus said, “Believe also in Me” (John 14:1). In the original Greek, this is a command. Jesus tells them, “Believe that I know what I’m doing here! My Word is true. You will see that in time.”

 

Let God Change Your Life: How to Know and Follow Jesus
by Greg Laurie
David C Cook/June 2011
ISBN: 978-1434-70207-4/208 pages/paperback