“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14.1 (NIV)
The next verses usually get top billing in this passage. We are told that Jesus is going Heaven to get ready to take us there, comforting for sure. Unbeknownst to the disciples, Jesus is not going to sleep again before He is crucified. Knowing the meanings of the teachings of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus can understand this will be difficult for his followers (Matthew 26.31). They will be scattered, and He will not be able to reconstitute them. His advice: control your heart.
A lost concept in today’s society; controlling the heart is possible. You can determine what and whom you will love as well as what you will allow yourself to be bothered by. How can I say that? Because that is how Jesus begins this teaching. “Do not let your hearts be troubled” indicates that the heart will do as it is instructed. However, to be able to control the heart requires two things many people lack: discipline and willingness to practice. Consider how Paul expresses “I discipline my body and keep it under control” (1 Corinthians 9.27). The words Paul uses to describe his determination to be in charge of himself mean (to poorly translate the Greek) “I handle my body roughly, and discipline it with hardships, to claim myself as my own slave”. Jesus has said “Do not let”, therefore, allowing emotions to control us is negligence on our part.
The Word of the LORD, through Jeremiah (17.9) tells us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick: who can understand it?” To understand this verse (in part) we must accept that we will tell ourselves many things to try and justify our desires. Left undisciplined, the desires of our hearts will lead us not to goodness and righteousness, but to sin and death (James 1.14-16).
What’s the point? In the words of Ke$ha: “Won’t listen to any advice, mom’s telling me I should think twice; but left to my own devices I’m addicted, it’s a crisis”. Going against our desires is not something we desire to do. Therefore, the answer is to discipline our hearts into desiring righteousness. Let your heart be full of light. Light enough to expel your darkest desires.