Thursday, February 5, 2015
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brother and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
I am presently taking a course that deals with language assessments. One of my assignments for next week is to create multiple choice vocabulary questions for an exam. I find myself thinking of all angles of the topic I've chosen and searching for varying ways to incorrectly depict a situation--these incorrect answers would designate the distractions from the correct answer. I am distracted searching for distractions!
I began thinking about other distractions that I focus on from day to day. I am not a cup-half-full person. I tend to concentrate on what is not going right and fixate on fixing what is not perfect. This makes life difficult for me and for those who have to spend time with me! Life is not perfect, and much that comes our way is tainted. I have found that it is better not to have expectations, because unfulfilled expectations lead to disappointment.
Paul exhorts us in Philippians to rejoice in all circumstances, let go of anxiety and release our worry by leaning on God and going to Him in prayer: "Present your requests to God" (verse 6). What good does our fixating and anxiety do for us or for those who spend time with us? A fretful person is usually not a calm or gentle person; Paul tells us to "Let your gentleness be evident to all" (verse 5).
Contrast the behavior of one who frets with one who is able to release his concerns to God, perceive what is good, right, pure, lovely, and admirable and be thankful for God's blessings. Such a person exudes the peace of God that transcends the unease of a worrier and guards the heart and mind in Christ Jesus. I want to focus on what is praiseworthy and not be distracted by the multiple choice concerns that keep me from experiencing God's peace.
Dear Lord, Thank You that I am forgiven and loved by You. Teach me to think about whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. I want to put these skills into practice and ask Your guidance in this endeavor. Only in You will I find real peace.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.