Instructions For A Happy Life
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Everything Jesus said is a divine command, but much of His teaching is also practical advice! He said, in John 14:1, Let not your heart be troubled. This is a command, but it is also a way for us to enjoy life and to avoid trouble.
I confess that loud music has often “troubled” me. It hurts my ears and makes me want to escape. Recently I was sitting outdoors reading an interesting book. Suddenly I was aware that someone was playing loud music. Somehow, I knew that music had been playing for some time before I became aware of it. Once it had my attention, I couldn’t enjoy the book. All I could think of was the loud, annoying music.
Instead of becoming a victim of my own troubled mind, I determined to forget the music and go back to enjoying the book. At first it seemed impossible, but I persisted in my efforts to concentrate on the book rather than on the music.
Some time later, I realized that I had been reading for about a half-hour without hearing the music. But the music was still blasting away!
Jesus knows that God has given each of us the ability to overcome many of life’s annoyances. In some situations, we can simply turn off our senses of hearing or seeing offending annoyances. Many times, the situation is far too serious for this, and we need power from God to keep our hearts at peace. Paul learned to be thankful for everything and thereby was able to destroy any power that tried to make him unhappy. Jesus wants us to know that creatures made in God’s image have the natural ability to “turn off” many of the memories of evil things that people have done or are doing to us. We can turn off worries about the future. We can immerse ourselves in praise to God and become so absorbed in trusting Him that we are no longer subject to the suffering that other people are forced to endure.
What “troubles” have you been experiencing that God wants to help you end? His command – His offer – is to end all troubled hearts. I’m in favor of accepting His offer.
If people seem to be causing you stress, remember God’s command – His recommendation for happy living. He may permit people to continue doing “their thing,” but He will also help us to shut out their ability to trouble us.
When I was sitting outdoors reading that book, I wasn’t able to relax as long as I was listening to the music. The offending noise dominated my attention as long as I thought about it. But once my attention was controlled by other thoughts, the music lost its power.
Offending people, or situations, lose their power over us once we learn to center our thoughts on something better. Praise to God can often be that something else. We become absorbed in believing that He is using all situations to bless us. But if we continue to think about the unpleasant aspects of life, they will continue to control us. (Reprint from November 1989)