Peace, joy and love are great until…
You are filled with fear.
You are agitated and annoyed.
You are facing a crummy situation.
You are hurt or offended by someone’s selfish choices.THESE are the moments, the moments when you feel the least peaceful, joyful or loving, when you need the power of peace, joy and love the most.I told you at the beginning of 2017 that these were my words for this year, and I meant it. I have been keeping their meanings close to my heart, leaning on each of them in trying times and generally, I have been doing pretty darn good! But proven character is character that is tested and I am not immune from that.
So, when I am being tested, (and it feels like I’m being tried by fire), eventually I realize that I need to re-focus on these three weapons and access the power that they give me to overcome my trials. I have come up with some questions to ask myself when I know I need to re-center and re-focus. My answers to these questions reveal just how full of peace, joy and love I really am. (Or… am not!) Do you want to know what the questions are? I thought you might! Here you go–
First I ask and answer these questions, then, I allow the truth to set me free…
Is my heart troubled/distressed by anything?
Am I entertaining any fear?
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. –John 14:27
I don’t need to give myself over to a troubled and anxious heart. I can choose peace as I trust in God’s power to do for me what I cannot do for myself.
Am I allowing myself to be agitated by anyone?
Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him;
do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,
by the man who carries out evil plans.
do not be agitated-it can only bring harm.
For evildoers will be destroyed,
but those who put their hope in the Lord
will inherit the land. –Psalm 37:7-9Well, this could not be more clear! I can practice self-control and decide not to give in to agitation, irritation or anger. This is a lot easier when I put my hope in God’s plan for my life.
Am I enthusiastically expecting GOOD things to come?
The definition of joy is…The passion or emotion excited by the aquisition or expectation of GOOD.
I have joy when I expect good things to happen in my life. I can look forward to those good things even if today wasn’t so good.
I have Your decrees as a heritage forever;
indeed, they are the joy of my heart. –Psalm 119:111
Am I perpetually forgiving? Or is someone on my hook?
Proverbs 10:12 says that “love covers a multitude of sins.” That doesn’t mean love covers up for or lies about others’ mistakes, it means that love chooses to forgive. It is easy to hold other people’s offenses against them but that puts me in a really bad place. Not only does it eat me up inside, it puts me in a bad spot because God won’t let me off of His hook if I won’t let others off of mine. When I choose love and choose forgiveness I am showing the compassion to someone else that I really need from God for myself. (And that is just plain wise.)
Here’s the thing… peace, joy and love are a weapon because they keep me safe from the havoc that an anxious, troubled, agitated and angry heart cause me. I choose them because I want to live my best life.
How about you? Will you choose peace, joy and love today?