Hindrances to Peace

I ended up spending last night in Lakewood. It was good to be with Christian, Bridget and the children overnight. I was able to take the boys to school and then head back to Fort Collins in time for my morning workout appointment. I then attended a lunch meeting with two candidates for the US Senate. This afternoon, I finished up on some logistics for my work and some upcoming events.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear…. Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious.”  Luke 12:22,29 HCSB

If there is a triumvirate that can sap the peace and enjoyment out of life it is worry, striving and anxiety. It is hard to distinguish between “worry” and “anxiety” and to just view them as the same. I found an interesting description of the two from Dr Linda Mintle. She describes “anxiety” as “…that uneasy feeling, apprehension, a feeling of danger, doom or misfortune.” It can be induced by perceived danger or threat when one considers future events. “Worry” is “the mental part of anxiety. Worry has to do with anxious thoughts.”  http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/doinglifetogether/2013/09/the-difference-between-worry-and-anxiety.html#7jsHMhXcfSsqMMtJ.99

So, “anxiety” can be viewed as the emotional response to a situation, “worry” is related to the thoughts about life or an area of concern. Most people would say, “regardless of how you explain it, it feels the same and has the same impact on my life.” That is so true. That is why Jesus said, “don’t do it…”

The other enemy of peace of “striving.” If anxiety is the emotional response and worry is the mental activity, striving is what I do to solve the problem on my own. In these verses Jesus is talking about food and clothing, not cars and yachts and recreational apparel. Those basic needs of life, if you don’t have them or fear losing them it would seem to be a good reason to be anxious.

But even in the midst of the most basic, fundamental needs of our life, Jesus says, don’t strive, don’t get worked up on how you are going to bring them into your life. Instead, “trust me.” The God who cares for the creatures of field and the birds of the air says, that He cares for each of us, just the same.

Jesus draws a contrast between the “gentiles” who seek after these things and His children who are to “seek His kingdom.” Our priorities and focus is not be dictated by the world around or what others do. This is one of those, “not so with you” contrasts that Jesus presents to His followers.

We are called to put Jesus first and then to “make heaven rich.” “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:33 HCSB) In a practical way Jesus says, you have possessions that can be sold and have resources to give to the poor and to have your own needs met.

We trust, we maintain a focus on the eternal and we do what the scripture tells us to do. “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9 ESV)

The Lord has a plan to provide peace in the pressure of life. Don’t worry, don’t strive, don’t be anxious. But trust the Lord who knows your need, seek His kingdom, focus on the eternal and follow God’s plan for your finances and your future.