Heading outside to do something as mundane as putting the rubbish out, I took a moment to look up at the night sky. There is something amazingly reassuring about looking at the night sky knowing that the billion of stars scattered across it, like diamonds on velvet, are held in place by a God who knows what He is doing. We need to trust in the one who knows the future. We don’t have to fear the future when facing it with God. Oprah Winfrey once said “I don’t know what the future holds but I know who holds the future.” It says in Colossians “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” He holds the universe in His hands – He holds us in His hands.
Most of our anxieties and worry comes from our concern for tomorrow – for the future. The stress of major decisions to make, commitments to meet or financial pressures to resolve. The apprehension around our health or in my case the meeting with my son’s teacher. We can be anxious, in fear. Yet if we turn to the Bible we will see time and time again, reassurance, encouragement from God not to worry. We find courage knowing that God is in control and nothing takes Him by surprise.
We need to let trust in God settle our hearts and dispel all anxiety.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Trust in the one who knows and your soul will find calm, your soul will find peace.
It had been one of “those” parenting days. Being asked to meet with the teacher, finding nits in your son’s hair (eek!) and the added concern of transitioning a child to a new kindergarten. That and a few other curve balls were making me feel quite overwhelmed and stressed. As I reached into the cupboard for a mug for a much needed cup of tea, I automatically sidestepped the “Christmas” one – the bright red one with snowflakes, and the words of Christmas. You know – Peace, Love, Joy. But as I grabbed a teal one with polka dots, I felt the prompting of God.
“Are you really relegating peace, love and joy to Christmas alone? Especially when right in this moment you need peace?”
Peace is not just a nice term pertaining to Christmas alone, or to be used only in relation to world events and the absence of war. Peace is real. Peace is tangible and peace is available to you and me(!) today. Peace is God given and God breathed. Not only did Jesus give us peace, but He is peace personified.
“May the Lord of Peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
Peace is something to be received in our spirits, not our minds. Peace comes from within. You can’t try and think your way into peace. It rises up from the inside. When we allow peace to be in charge it refuses admission to anxiety and worry. There is no frustration or fretting in peace.
With Christ in us, we don’t have to react to the external. We respond to an external with what is on the inside. The enemy wants us to focus on the external and not the internal. He wants to remove Christ from the equation. Jesus was able to speak peace to the storm because that was what was inside of Him. We have access to the same for Jesus is in us. We need to capitalise on God being on the inside of us. He is with us in every situation because He is present within. We can speak peace to the storms around us because it is on the inside of us. We sometimes just have to let it out.
I sat with my cup of tea, regretting I hadn’t chosen the Christmas mug, but nonetheless I let the peace of God surround this anxious mother’s heart. I let peace take charge.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:15)
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” —Ephesians 4:1
We are called to live a worthy life. A life that is worthy of the Lord, worthy of the call and worthy of the Gospel. But what exactly does that entail? And is it achievable?
Living the worthy life is living a life that brings honour to Jesus. It is about giving Him all the glory. It is Him that is worthy, not us. To “walk worthy of the Lord” means to walk in a way that is of value and esteeming to Him. It is what the Lord deserves from us, not what we deserve from Him. It means living in a way that befits the glorious nature of God, the Gospel and the call of God on each of our lives.
In Colossians Paul expounds a little more as to what a worthy walk means. To walk worthy of the Lord, is to please Him.
“That you might live in a manner worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way” (Colossians 1:10)
Continuing on this trail then, we are now faced with the question of how can we please the Lord? Once again, the answer lies in Scripture. In Hebrews 11:6 it says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” So the call to walk “worthy of the Lord” begins as a call to walk by faith. Faith takes the focus off ourselves, our abilities and own strength and places it on Jesus. Faith agrees with the premise that it is God who is of infinite worth and honour and it is to Him that we must look for our help and our satisfaction. In other words, it is to Him that we put all our trust, hope and confidence.
As Christians our lives should honour and please God, just as Jesus’ life on earth did. When Jesus walked the earth amongst us God declared one two notable occasions that He was pleased with His Son – at His Baptism and at the Transfiguration. Jesus lived as fully man, with the same limitations that we have and His life was pleasing to God. He lived in submission to the will of the Father. That is, He put God’s Kingdom and priorities above His own needs.
Colossians 1:10 goes on to add “bearing fruit” as being one of the ways to walk worthy. When the fruits of the Holy Spirit are evident in our lives we reveal God to others and give Him glory. We are called to live a transformed life – one that sets us apart. The demonstration of the love, joy, peace etc when circumstances would suggest otherwise is a transformed life. As it says in Micah we are called to “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.’ (Micah 6:8). What we do and how we respond to life’s situations should reflect our faith and reveal Christ in us.
Living a life of honour means taking a different perspective on life. It means looking at the circumstances in our lives for the bigger picture – what could God be using what is going on in our lives? Is it for our personal growth and development (Spiritual and character)? Or perhaps to enable others to feel and experience God and His love through us.
Furthermore, to bring honour to God we need to accept who He created us to be, and be true to the call He has placed on our lives. For each of us He has a plan, a destiny and a purpose, unique to us. As Elisabeth Elliot once wrote “I have accepted God’s idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am and all that He wants me to be.”
Now that is a worthy life!