Beach time!

Beach time!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Joyful (but not necessarily happy)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent of praiseworthy-think about such things. 
Philippians 4:8

Whew, life can be exhausting. Just the moment when you think that it is going smoothly, watch out. A curve ball may be headed your way. In thinking about fear and worry over these last several months, I've begun to wonder how much time and energy I have spent worrying about things over which I have no control. And while I have excused these times away as saying that it is a part of my personality to worry and dwell, I have learned recently that I may have actually been disobeying a command of God's all this time. In Philippians, we are directed and commanded to rejoice and to never be anxious (chapter 3, verse 4-7). How is this possible? How can we be commanded to be joyful? Don't be confused. This is not the same as being commanded to be happy all the time. Instead, it is God's directive for our life to find joy and contentment in him. Let's face it, the world is a messy place and there is sometimes easier to focus on what can go wrong rather than turning our eyes to Christ and looking to him for guidance. That is why I love this verse. What am I spending my moments dwelling and meditating on? All of the things that can go wrong or on the sovereignty of Christ? The worst case scenarios or God's protection of me and my family?

Paul tells us to dwell on the things that often go against our "human nature", or sinful nature. Our tendency, especially when faced with loss or stress, is to focus on the "Why me's?" and our lack of understanding. This list of things to focus on almost seems impossible in this world. The only way I know to do this is to stay in His word for us. By immersing myself in God's word, bathing every day in prayer, and surrounding myself with other believers, I am ready to face a world filled with uncertainties and people who need to see the certainty of Christ through me. The reward? The peace of God. Peace that exceeds a healthy checking account, job stability, and potential loss. Peace that goes beyond our understanding. Peace that is the calm in the middle of a raging storm through our lives. Peace that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Peace.

Lord, compel me to think of noble, pure, right, lovely, and admirable things. Wake me in the morning with a desire for you and your word. Thank you, Lord, that even my worst case scenario is surrounded by your love and grace for me and my family.

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