April, 2019 “From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise…The God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:8, 9b)
In these times of controversy and discord, it is easy to be Against something or someone. But the true way to peace and healing is when we are FOR something or someone. It takes a lot of energy to be mad at folks; how much better to use that energy to build someone up, to build a program; to make a difference in a positive way, instead of wasting energy decrying something you’re not really connected to.
At a conference on Saturday about growing the church, it was mentioned that Real Christian Service involves connecting with actual people. Not just giving food to a food bank; not just giving blankets to a homeless ministry: those are acts of Generosity. Good and worthy, but not Service; not Ministry. Real ministry is serving that food to actual people at a food bank; real ministry is givng those blankets to the ones who will use them, talking with them, finding out about their lives, realizing they are people, too. Connecting in a postive way.
It is easy to get embroiled in controversy. Amen? But I have found, most often when I am on the pouting side of an issue, that by looking at the beautiful mountains (this is why I so often think of the scripture, “I lift mine eyes unto the hills; from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord!” Ps. 121), or hearing a child laugh, or seeing a hawk float on the wings of the wind, or thinking of a song, a hymn, or an anthem, or remembering a time of joy with my family, … that the anger or stubborness or hurt that comes from being Against something or someone in the controversy that is going on… that all that negative stuff just fades away.
While reading in THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE, chapter 27 on “Overcoming Temptations,” I realized the same ways to conquer them, can be used to conquer trials, troubles and tribulations. When we focus not on the evil, but on the good, the evil receeds. James 4:7-8 says, “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and God will come near to you.”
“No trash talking the other team” is still a good course of action. Because the energy we use to trash talk the other team, that energy could be used to stand up for what we DO believe in. That trash talkin’ energy could help feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit those in prison or who are homebound. And by focusing on the actual service or program we believe in, we take away that trash talkin’ energy that the other team grows on…
Heard a pastor say one time that we give the devil too much due… and when we worry about or allow ourselves to fear something, especially when that something is a maybe in the future, that gives that whatever it is, energy. When we focus our energy on Christ, on loving one another, on being the person God knows we are, we don’t give Any energy to the other team. At all. And the devil flees from us, and the event that we worried about does not happen.
God loves us. Before we ever loved/love God. And God is good with that. God’s will is always for our highest good, for our most loved and loving self, for the healing of the world. When we focus on that team, our energy is magnified and set free. When we waste our energy trash talking the other team, the other team gets that energy and we are left listless and drained.
Let’s focus on the world we want, and give our energies to making that world a reality. The other team can take care of itself, and if it is not of God, it will fade away, like a bad dream. And our dreams will become reality. Green hills, and blue skies and rain once a week for five years. And love among us all and peace and prosperity. And God will walk with us in the evening breeze.