During tonight’s Bible study, something occurred to me. I remembered back to last week when my neck was really hurting. I was painfully (pun intended) aware of this throughout the day – my movements were constrained, my mobility was limited, my whining was increased 😉 On Thursday, I was walking through campus and realized my neck didn’t hurt anymore. When I thought about it, my neck hadn’t hurt the day before either. It struck me then. I was so accutely aware of the pain when it was in my body and was quick to complain and mention it; however, when the pain subsided – where was my praise? Where was my awareness of being healthy again? It was a day and half late and a dollar short, I’ll tell you that!
In 2 Corinthians, we’re reminded of this. We so often become consumed by our despair – we can’t see beyond our circumstances, beyond our shortcomings, beyond our surroundings – that it becomes what we’re consumed by. How are we going to get out of debt? How are these students going to learn? How are we going to be able to afford _____? What will life look like in six months? It becomes debilitating. God promises to CONSOLE the downcast – shouldn’t we be concentrating on that? His Word is FULL OF TRUTHS that remain TRUE despite our circumstances.
This even rang true as I drove home and was contemplating this idea – that we often give the negative in our life so much more time and energy and worry than we praise and celebrate the positive and the victories. Yesterday at work, there was a very difficult meeting that I attended. The story of this mother was absolutely heartbreaking. Like brought me to tears last night when I laid in bed and thought about it. However, today at work, I was highly encouraged by a meeting I attended. But, it didn’t consume me like yesterday’s meeting. The pain that I felt over yesterday and the prayers that I lifted up on behalf of that mother and her children should have been complimented by my praise and excitement over such a good report this afternoon – something in Philipians we’re encouraged to think about – (whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise).
When we become aware of this, we should feel a godly grief. A godly grief leads to earnestness, eagerness to clear ourselves, indignation (strong displeasure in something that is unjust or offensive), alarm, longing, zeal. Lord, let me be aware of the fact that oftentimes I get stuck in the what ifs – let me realize that is DECEPTIVE; a device the enemy uses to distract me from the peace and character of God.. Those worries distract us from the reality that when we present our requests to God, the peace that transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in CHRIST JESUS.
Another thought that stuck out today is from 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved (God has accepted us as His children as separate from the world), let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit (CLEANSE that spiritual contamination that we’ve exposed ourselves to by not being obedient or by not understanding God’s character), making holiness perfect in the fear (absolute reverence) of God.” What is in our lives that is keeping us from perfecting holiness? (holiness meaning to be set apart)…