One of my favorite Jesus quotes is in John 16:33 when He warns his disciples, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Trouble. Trouble. Trouble. AAAAHHH! (is the song running through your head like it is mine?)
The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and the word "trouble" in this verse is the Greek word "thlipsis" which translates "a pressing, pressing together, or pressure." It's the type of pressure that is literally hard on one's soul. Jesus was telling his followers, "The world is going to pressure you. Not the kind of pressure that makes you break out into forehead sweat, but like wreck your life, weigh you down, crush you kind of pressure." When, according to the ancient law of England, those who willfully refused to plead guilty, had heavy weights placed on their breasts, and were pressed and crushed to death, this was literally thlipsis.
And as the great 'theologian' Taylor Swift sang, we know it when it walks in, don't we. We know the trouble, the pressure, by name. It's name is infidelity. It's name is gossip. It's a financial decision that is going to break us. It's a word that someone said that cut us to the bone and we can't let it go. It presses in on us. Often times it's not even the 'big' pressures that weigh us down, it's the little ones. Traffic. Grocery store. Dinner. Homework. Anxiety. Doubt. Fear. The pressure mounts and we feel like we're going to suffocate under the crushing weight of it all. John MacArthur wrote that this type of pressure is like, "...squeezing olives in a press in order to extract the oil and of squeezing grapes to extract the juice." Have you ever felt squeezed by life to the point that you're drained, like you were once a solid and now you're...juice? Me too.
But Jesus didn't stop with the warning. He didn't give the disciples a big dose of "waaah, waaah" and then go to the cross to die. No. Jesus gave them a warning but He left them with hope. He always left them with hope. Jesus said, "Take heart! I have overcome the world." To say it differently, Jesus told them to have courage and confidence. But His real answer wasn't just that, His real answer is found at what He said in the very beginning of the verse, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace."
When we feel the pressure, we look for relief in all sorts of different places. We eat. We drink. We have girls night out. We teach Sunday School. We arrange play dates for our kids. We go to the gym. We go shopping. But you won't find the peace you're looking for in food or wine or through your girlfriends. You won't find the peace you desperately need in your church work or through your perfect figure or through a new pair of strappy sandals.
Only in Jesus will you find your peace. Only Jesus can wash away your sin and lift the weight of trouble this world bears down on you from your aching heart. Trust Him. Give Him your trouble today. Say it out loud and ask Him to help you. He will. We don't have peace because we don't ask for it. So ask.
Jesus said it. Taylor sang it. I'm writing it.
I knew who/what you were when you walked in. Because Jesus told me so. And I'd like to tell you that you're a no good, big fat jerk-face liar. I'm breaking up with you. I'm sick and tired of you weighing me down and holding me back. Don't call me. Don't text me. Don't facebook me. We're done. I've moved on. You've been replaced in my heart with PEACE!
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, brings me self-worth, value, confidence, a calm mind, hope, love, forgiveness...you know, all the things you could never offer me.
So I'm riding off into the sunset with my Prince. And I'm gonna live happily ever after (in this moment with my resolve). And when I notice you walking into a room, I'm gonna turn around and go another direction and then I'm just gonna KEEP GOING!
Asta La Vista,