Summary: Worry is worsened because we believe everything our mind is telling us. Often our mind is lying to us.
A TRUSTWORTHY SOURCE? You’re being lied to . . . by your own mind.
- John 14:27.
- This is bold statement, so let me unpack what I mean.
- We have great confidence in our feelings. We trust them and believe them.
- One of our feelings is worry. “I’m feeling worried.” Our mind is telling us that the proper response to our situation is worry. And because we trust our mind, we automatically believe it without question.
- Your mind is lying to you. Your feelings are lying to you. Not every single time, but often.
- This understanding is an important initial step toward handling our worry. As long as we believe it to be true, we are hard-pressed to get rid of it.
- Now, you’re not unusual for being in this situation - every person is at some point. Our mind is sinful and that horribly colors its ability.
- What’s an example of the mind lying to you? An obvious one would be eating disorders. A woman who is dangerously thin looks in the mirror and sees a fat person. That’s not an accurate perception of the situation. Her mind is lying to her.
- Another example would be the young man whose father has been verbally and physically abusive. He gets his report card at his high school and it’s a 3.5. Instead of feeling smart, though, his mind tells him he’s an idiot and that he’ll never amount to anything. That’s not an accurate perception of the situation. His mind is lying to him.
- It doesn’t just happen in such dire situations, though. We pretty much all do. We allow our mind to tell us things that are not true and we buy it hook, line, and sinker.
- In our passage, we see a spiritual example.
- In John 14:27, Jesus tells His followers “do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I have said many times before that He wouldn’t have said that if it wasn’t because He knew that we would regularly be tempted in that direction. He’s saying it because He has something better for us.
- (Quick clarification: He is referring to a particular type of fear here. We are commanded, for instance, to fear the Lord - and that’s a command we should obey. When you are in a dark alley and hear someone cock a gun, fear is an appropriate response to a crisis. What we’re talking about here is that everyday fear that obsesses over and quakes before things that we should give to the Lord.)
- Now, here is the relevance of that verse to us. Fear is a feeling, an emotion. I have a problem arise and my mind tells me: “You should be afraid.” I hear rumors of layoffs at work and my mind immediately goes to full-tilt fear. No - He has something better for us than that. The doctor orders another test because He’s doesn’t like the initial results and my mind immediately goes to panicked fear. No - He has something better for us than that.
- For most Christians, 99% of the times we feel fear it’s a situation where our mind is lying to us.
- Fear is just one emotion. This also happens with other emotions as well and plays into our worry.
WHAT LEADS US? Your feelings are a good caboose but a terrible engine.
- As I just noted, we let our feelings lead. My feelings tell me that something is true and I intrinsically believe it. That makes my feelings the leader. To put it in the train analogy I’m using, we allow our feelings to be the engine. We go where the engine leads us. It chooses to switch us onto increasingly nervous and worrisome tracks. And we go right along with it, presuming that’s the way things work.
- We need to think of our feelings as a caboose. Yes, we can’t get rid of our feelings - and we shouldn’t necessarily want to. They add so much to life and we’re not meant to be somber robots. Our feelings are a part of our lives.
- But we should treat them as a caboose. The caboose is at the end of the train and goes where the train leads it. If we have the right engine, our caboose will come along in time.
- What, then, should be our engine? Verse 26 tells us. Jesus has promised that one of the benefits of having the Holy Spirit is that He will teach us all things and will remind us of what Jesus said. That’s what we need! We need the truth of the Bible, the truth of Jesus, the truth of the Father to guide us. And we need that brought to our minds!