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.
We’ve become a very anxious people, and the enemy will tell us that is to be celebrated, as if the fuller your plate, the fuller your cup, but the problem really becomes what that cup is overflowing. Is it Jesus? No! It’s bitterness, anger, and discontent. It’s worry, depression, and a sense of unfulfillment. We think the fastest rabbit wins the race, and that’s why you see people on their deathbed, at the finish line, weeping in regret. The fastest runner doesn’t win, but the one who can enjoy and learn from the journey. Who even remembers how to stop and smell the roses?
We make funny memes about how the Holiday Season has us freaking out, and we laugh and laugh. Meanwhile our hearts are hurting. We end up on the other side of January wondering where the joy went, why it can’t be like it was when we were a child.
Have you ever wondered why those MLM companies are so successful? It’s not just whatever product they’re pushing. It’s the dream they’re selling. A dream to not have to run so fast. A dream that you can slow down, off-load your daily to-do’s, and enjoy not having to worry about money! Money… that root of all evil, yet it’s only evil because of the focus we allow it. I’m guilty. We all just miss the fact that peace is here for the taking, but we have to lay down the things that don’t matter. What we’ve really become is a culture that places our importance on everything but the Kingdom of God right here, right now in our lives. Yes, Jesus come quick, I agree, but we forget that He is here right now, in our hearts, yet hidden by worldly distraction.
I wonder if we can change? I wonder if we can stop assuming a fast-paced anxiety is the best we’ll get this side of eternity, if we can understand that freedom has already been won when Jesus died for us? He didn’t give His life for us to be slaves to time, our workload, commitments, and routine. Indeed, He’s freed us from that sin that so easily entangles us.
Maybe we can step out in freedom by laying life down. Gain more by letting go of it all. Take an inventory of our full plate, and pick today to scrap off the pieces that aren’t giving us life. Jesus has given us life, but also an abundant life, a life free from anxiety. The Bible instructs us to “fear not” 365 times, one for every day of the year. We fear the things we cannot change, yet many of those same things we can change by letting them go. We can stop celebrating anxiety and instead cast it down.
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.