4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
This morning as I drove my girls to school we launched the memorization of the week’s ‘Verse of the Week’. Every weekend I pray over a list of verses that I keep in my phone to determine which one would be appropriate for the week ahead. 2 Corinthians 4:7 was referenced in a sermon I heard preached yesterday and the freshness of it in my heart moved it quickly to the top of my iPhone list. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” The conversation quickly led to how that applies to the life of a kindergartner and fifth grader. But to seal the deal I turned the tables on to myself. How can Mommy show the excellence of God’s power when I make so many mistakes?
I have to be honest with my girls so they will know that, despite the perfectionist facade I work hard at promoting, I make my own share of mistakes and must surrender my flesh’s desires all too often. While the temptation to sin against God in the way that many think of first stays surrendered, I fight the temptation to be anxious rather often. In fact, on more days than I care to admit I rise with a bit of a palpitation in my heart, unsure if I’m up to the challenge of the day’s tasks. I put a lot of pressure on my own shoulders to meet a myriad of demands. This leads to a shortage of patience when things don’t always fall into place as I expected.
Anxiety. It’s rampant in our culture today and the lack of peace has this world turning on its ear, many times completely out of control. It is because of this chaos that reels about us that I feel confident in saying this: the peace of God ruling and reigning in your life as a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ may be the single most important ally you have in a quest to reach lost people about you.
“But how can I have peace when…” The apostle Paul sensed this same urge to fret in his own life, but then also in others’ lives as they realized what he was facing on behalf of the Church at large. In his epistle to the Philippians he pulled out all the stops in his effort to encourage them. No doubt he had used these very keys of wisdom and reassurance in his own personal life to keep himself going, day after day. Have you ever had to give yourself a pep talk? “Rejoice, I say. No, really, REJOICE!” If you’ve never physically been in or near a prison cell, you may feel like you’ve been in one within your own mind at one time or another. That is most certainly not the place where your flesh tells you to rejoice. It is something you must choose to do. Mind over matter. Faith over flesh. Spirit over body.
What is making you anxious today? Read these words of encouragement from your brother in Christ, Paul, and now from your sister, Bridgette: “Rejoice, I say. No, really, REJOICE!”
Choosing His joy & peace,
Come back next week for more on combating anxiety with the Word of God.