Today I read a short article entitled, “Not to Worry” by Charles Stanley In September’s edition of “In Touch” magazine. In it, Dr Stanley asked the question, “Do you wake up in the morning with joy or feeling burdened and dreading the day? He then went on to talk about verses in the fourth chapter of Philippians. He talked about vv. 13 and 19…..And these verses along with some in Romans 8, spoke volumes to me.
You see, I trudge through my life. I do not soar. I dread the future, more pain, less money, more disability, possibly a broken marriage or being widowed , our home being in disrepair due to finances and there is also the worry caused by national troubles and the poor fiscal futures created by men who do not serve the Lord ….and I am terrified. I do not completely trust God’s limitless resources for me or his loving, giving heart. I long for an early death to be spared facing any of these. Sometimes I make medical decisions with the thought in mind, “Maybe this will be my way out”….I promised God I would never again attempt suicide (as I have 4 times in the past)….but I look for indirect ways to end things. (I must say, to my own defense, that in the past few years I have made strides in these areas, but still have a way to go before I can say that I’m glad to be alive).
And I thought this morning, “What would it take for me to face the day with joy?” I looked at those verses mentioned above and my answer was this: Contentment and Trust. If I could learn as Paul did, how to be content…in the face of the worst pain, the poorest times financially, and not to spend money on needless things but rather to put it to better use. And if I could trust God with today, tomorrow and in years to come, to meet EVERY need (as he has promised to do) and to not give me more pain than I can endure….then I need not fear the future. Contentment and trust are the anecdotes to discontentment and fear.
Just now I found some more verses that really spoke to me along these lines.4 Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: Be glad. 5 Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. 7 Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. (Phil 4; 4-7) NASB
1. Be glad.
2. The Lord will be here soon
3. Don’t worry, instead, PRAY about everything.
Result? God’s Peace…and his Joy. And I like the last sentence…This peace will control the way I think and feel. Truly those are the two areas where I need a reconstruct: My mind and my emotions. And the answer to that need is God’s Peace. And Look! Peace is in Phil . 4 also:
Philippians 4:7 New International Version (NIV) “ And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
One more thing.:
Romans 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is
life and peace, NASB
So how do I get this Peace? I need to get my mind off of worldly things and focus on the Spirit. Have you ever tried to live out a day with your entire thought life focused on what the Spirit of God was saying to you and where he was leading you? How might that affect your decisions? How might it affect how many times you pull out your credit or debit card? How do we do that? Well, for one thing, we ask God for his help….because without his help we are truly help-less. And we must make it a habit…to have the ears of our mind inclined in a Godward direction. It will feel awkward at first but I believe, as Paul said ‘I have LEARNED to be content” this too, is a learning experience. Also we must live a life of Prayer….keep talking and most of all, keep listening. And lastly, submit your mind to the “washing of the Word”
(Ephesians 5:26New American Standard Bible (NASB)26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
It is critical to keep your “nose in the Book” however you do it…CDs in your car, on your cellphone, your Kindle, or your old fashioned Book with pages you can turn. The more you read, the more your mind will be bathed and cleansed by God’s Spirit which plants the Word deep in your heart and mind ….and before you know it, those habits of discontentment and worry will begin to disappear and maybe one morning you (I) will open up my eyes and feel joy at the promise of a new day and feel gratitude and optimism for the future.