I recently met with a counselee who was struggling with some very powerful and painful emotions. As is almost always the case, those emotions reflected deeply held beliefs. The beliefs plaguing him and the feelings of rejection they evoked aren’t unusual but something new I asked him to try in the session was unusual – at least for me.
I can’t say I blame Peter. His Master was under attack, the one he left everything to follow. His best friend was being betrayed and falsely accused right before him. If you’re going to carry a sword, you must be prepared to use it. And what better time than then? It was his duty to protect Jesus, an honor even.
So Peter decided to fight. And it was over as quickly as it started.
Have you ever noticed how the smallest things in our lives, what so often doesn’t really matter, can irritate us to the point of losing our joy? Many years ago I was having lunch with a friend who had just picked up her photos from their family vacation and was so excited to look at them for the first time and share them with me. We began to look at these beautiful pictures of blue skies, sandy beaches, and cute little shops.
We serve a God who is bigger than any problem, frustration, challenge, trial, attack, hardship, sickness, injustice… THIS list goes on!
Sometimes, life can hurt so bad that we forget how BIG God is. Well, here’s a gentle reminder for all of us. Once we stir up the BIGness of God in our hearts and minds – here’s what we can tell that ol’ ugly problem.
Sometimes we can drift through life, just going through the motions. We are passive more than active. Distracted—waiting to be entertained—instead of engaged and proactive. Jaded and not alive to the spiritual possibilities in front of us. We can feel like the functioning depressed.
I noticed this recently when I was reading Scripture. I was in the early chapters of Acts, which are some of the most exciting stories ever, but I was just. . . going through the motions.
Few things are as fixed as mountains. But, on the day after Jesus cursed the fig tree, He declared that they can be moved.
“Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” (Mark 11:23)
Did Jesus mean this?
God’s “good” is not specific to the individual as much as it is tied to that which benefits the corporate body. God’s “good” is about conforming us to the image of Christ. That is our greatest good. Our greatest good is that which most glorifies God and promotes worship of his holy name among the nations. God’s greatest good for us is leveraging our lives for the purpose of redemption. Yes, that is right, leveraging our lives. We are the servants, he is the master. Sometimes “good” is nailing you to the cross for the good of others in God’s redemptive kingdom plan.
I read an interesting research study that looked at the actions we can take to create the emotion of happiness. You might think at the top of the list would be going on vacation or receiving a gift of some kind. But the study showed that “the emotion of happiness is really a sense that comes when you are helpful, when your purpose is tied to helping someone else.” In other words, we are the happiest and the healthiest when we are loving and serving other people.
In this short talk, Sarah Zylstra—co-author (with Collin Hansen) of the new book Gospelbound: Living with Resolute Hope in an Anxious Age—talks about some of the reasons anxiety is on the rise. She explains how Christians can find peace in two seemingly contradictory ways: by thinking big, and by thinking small.
“Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn.”
Downcast and troubled Christian, come and glean today in the broad field of promise. Here are abundance of precious promises, which exactly meet thy wants. Take this one: “He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax.” Doth not that suit thy case? A reed, helpless, insignificant, and weak, a bruised reed, out of which no music can come; weaker than weakness itself; a reed, and that reed bruised, yet, he will not break thee; but on the contrary, will restore and strengthen thee…