Weather report from heaven: Sunny and bright with an abundance of light, and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Scripture: “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.”- Philippians 4:6-7
Insight: One of my biggest mentors in the Christian faith, Dr. Charles Stanley, recently passed away on April 18th, 2023. While it was tough to see him go, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt he is now in heaven, in the loving presence and arms of Jesus, and he wouldn’t come back to this sin ravaged world for anything. He is now living out the truth of 1 Corinthians 13:12 which says “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” He is currently in a state of peaceful bliss, where no fears, worries or anxiety exists. He is finally 100% free! But he left behind countless treasures of wisdom we can still learn from through his writings, sermons, devotionals and global ministries. His work on earth is still bearing fruit and I imagine it will be for a very long time. In fact, just this morning, my wife and I were learning from one of his devotional messages that challenged us to the core.
Dr. Stanley was discussing how peace and anxiety cannot exist at the same time. It is literally impossible, and the choice comes down to us! Are we pursuing activities that show a lack of trust and faith in God by trying to find security in lesser things than Him? If so the anxiety we are feeling is a direct result of our decision to put our trust in things that are so unstable, like our wealth, our social media followings or our relationships to name just a few. We can on the other hand, put our total trust and faith in the promises found in God’s word, and have a “peace that transcends understanding.” This peace is not circumstantial, it doesn’t fluctuate based on our portfolio value, and it is not out of our reach. In fact, it is very much within our reach, but we need to choose it by choosing to trust in God above everything else. I firmly believe God wants this for us, but He won’t make us choose Him. We have to do it in our own free will.
So the question I was confronted with is the same one we all are, but the answer may be different for each of us: What are you putting your trust in besides God that is making you anxious? For me, the answer was clear fairly quickly. I was anxious because of the rapid deterioration in my financial condition, which was fluctuating wildly to the down side as of late. I was worrying instead of trusting in God’s promises. I found out pretty quickly that worrying is not a plan endorsed in the Bible by the God of the Universe. I needed to get back in proper alignment, submit my fears to Him, ask Him to carry the weight of my burdens on His capable shoulders ( Matthew 11:28-30 ) and trust in His promises of Malachi 3:10 that He would one day in His perfect timing, reward us for our faith acts of obedience around generous giving. But for today, I needed to be thankful for today that I had enough and I was grateful for that. In fact, if we have food and shelter, and especially our health, we should be glad in that and that leads to a deep peace. Everything else is really ego food and fodder for trying to gain approval and affirmation from the world around us. I had to admit and repent of the fact that I was allowing anxiety in my life because I was focused on unstable things. I needed to refocus on the “solid rock of Jesus Christ,” as Matthew 7:24 says, because everything else is truly shifting sand!
I am forever grateful for the mentorship of Dr. Stanly while he was alive, and I will continue to be blessed by His wisdom even now that he has passed into eternity. Today was a reminder of that as I contemplated one tough questions: What is causing you anxiety in your life that you need to replace with a deeper trust in Jesus Christ?
Prayer: Jesus, help us to trust more deeply in You and be honest when circumstances reveal to us how we are putting our hopes in lesser things. We can only find peace in You and nothing else will do. Amen!
Join me on an exciting new platform Foundations of Freedom below!