When your soul is in trouble the worst advice seems to be, "Do not be troubled." Yet, this is exactly what God says to us in 1 Peter 3:14-15. But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
I don’t know about you, but when my soul is troubled, I naturally dwellon my troubles. I would love to not have trouble in my soul, and the way I tryto become trouble free is to find a way to resolve the problem that is troublingme. I begin this process with great hopes of quick release from troubles. WhatI find is that I can’t sleep; I can’t eat; my muscles ache; I geta headache that won’t go away. The more I try to solve my troubles, themore I get myself all worked up in a troubling mess.
Then I hear God speak to me, "Do not be troubled."
"That is kind of hard to do God," is my instant reply. "How canI not be troubled when I have troubles? I would love to replace all these troublingfeelings with not being troubled. I’ve been trying all night to feel better." Theonly way I can not be troubled is to focus on Christ and His promises ratherthan my troubles. It’s more healing than an alka seltzer.
Every one of us is bound to have troubles in this world. It is impossible tolive in a fallen world without troubles. The troubles that Paul was referringto in this passage were the reality the readers were facing of being persecutedfor their faith. Their trouble was real and imminent. They were living in a timewhen political and religious entities were fiercely battling Christianity andactually murdering many believers. I’d say that was something to be troubledby. God’s advice is, the more trouble you are facing, the more you needto set apart Christ as Lord in your heart. He didn’t say he would takeaway our troubles, but for us to replace our troubled souls with thoughts ofChrist.
Trouble has a way of replacing Christ in our hearts. Rather than focus on thereality that Christ established the victory over death and solved our biggesttrouble, we let trouble push Christ’s work and power in the background.We go about thinking about our troubles rather than Christ. Obsessing and ravingover troubles only gives us more troubles. It’s ironic that simply puttingChrist as the focus of our lives soothes the troubles in our soul, even thoughthe troubles don’t necessarily get resolved right away.
What is troubling your soul? How have you let that trouble take center stageof your heart? How can you make Christ the center of your heart and help youthrough your troubles?