As Christians, there are some things that we should think about—things worthy of our time and attention and ponderous attention. There are also some things not worthy of our heart’s pause—things that walk contrary to a life that is controlled by and rooted in the Spirit of the living God.
Contrary things walk contrary and breed inconsistencies into the life of a believer. We are forced to grapple with the issue everyday as we seek to live out the tenets of our faith. If not carefully guarded, our hearts become the fertile soil for some seeds that were never meant for the rooting therein.
Today I host some “bitter seeds,” and I’m confident that bitter doesn’t fall within the “true” and “noble” of Paul’s mindful checklist. Thus, I’m praying the truth of scripture over my wandering thoughts, desiring for God’s peace to be my portion. Always, God’s peace … for the journey.
That’s the heart behind this blog. To give readers an occasion to “pause from the ordinary in order to partake of the Extraordinary.” Peace isn’t an emotion or a temporary state of being. Peace is a person. His name is Jesus, and he intends to be our constant … our Way of doing life, most days in spite of the ebb and flow that works itself into our 24/7.
The “anxious and everything” will always find us. Yours may not look like mine today, but I imagine it to be present. If not in full blown status, then simmering somewhere just beneath the surface of your emotional stable. All of us are but one crisis away from having it voice its loud and its proud into our calm.
Your crisis may not be a huge thing; to the rest of the world, it may seem small and insignificant, but the rest of the world doesn’t live in your world. Your world hosts some tailor made “anxious and everything,” specifically designed to trip your triggers and to expedite your fall accordingly. Instead of recognizing those triggers and bypassing the danger, we allow them their bruising over our lives.
Instead of offering up our prayers and petitions to the only One who can bring peace to our “anxious and everything,” we offer up our own variety of solutions to soothe the ache.
Instead of truth … lies.
Instead of noble … improper.
Instead of right … wrong.
Instead of pure … profane.
Instead of lovely … hateful.
Instead of admirable … defaming.
Instead of excellent … evil.
Instead of praiseworthy … punishment.
Thus, the contrast to Philippians 4:8 …
Whatever is a lie, whatever is improper, whatever is wrong, whatever is profane, whatever is hateful, whatever is defaming, if anything is evil and rife with punishment, think upon such things.[i]
No wonder our worry; no wonder our anxious. No wonder our need to bring everything out into the light and to the foot of the cross for the soothing comfort of a better Peace. Whenever we default to our own solutions of managing the crises that come our way, we are left to the mercy of a depraved mind tilted in the wrong direction and mired in the murky waters of corruptible thinking.
God’s Peace isn’t anchored in that soil. He walked that soil for a season and on our behalf so that our feet wouldn’t have to make the journey. Still and yet, there are days when we choose to marshal our steps along that path, and instead of finding God’s promised Peace, we fuel our “anxious and everything” until it becomes the unmanageable cloaking of our hearts.
It’s a heavy mantle to carry, friends, and a weighing down that I don’t need today; thus, I’m going to take God at his Word, and bring my prayers and petitions to the foot of the cross and leave them there…
*knowing that I’ve been heard.
*believing that my words are kept and held and tended to by the extravagant grace of heaven.
*receiving the Peace that I’ve been promised.
Knowing. Believing. Receiving.
The posture of an uncluttered heart. The hope of this expectant pilgrim. Thus, I pray…
Unclutter me, Father, as I bring it all to your hands and to your understanding this day. I do not want to linger in my bitter and in my confusion. Instead, I give them to you, and ask you to work your will into my way of thinking. Forgive me for trying to manage this one out on my own; instead, teach me to trust you with my “anxious and everything” all the days of my life. You’ve given me your Peace; let my lingering thoughts rest in such a holding today. Amen.
[i] Antithesis based on word study search from The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament (Chattannoga: AMG Publishers, 1992).
Copyright © March 2009 – Elaine Olsen