We are living in an age where there seems to be constant pressure on us at every level to do more, to achieve more, attain higher goals, acquire more, tick more boxes, and fulfil what society is expecting of us, whether as citizens, parents, children, students, employees, or employers. The stress and anxiety that this results in is reflected in the staggering increase in psychological problems of people of all ages (including children), which we see and hear about in the media, and very likely in our own locality.
Sadly, there is a danger that we as Christians can be so eager to do the works of the Kingdom that we can get sucked into the mindset of the world that busiest and biggest is best. Consequently, we rush around working hard, organizing meetings, attending services or events, and supporting programmes and new initiatives. They all have their rightful place and purpose, but are they always what God wants of us at that time? As has often been said, not all good ideas are God ideas.
I am often challenged by the stern warning given by Jesus as we read it in Matthew 7:22-23. ‘On judgment day many will tell me, 'Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' But I will reply ' I never knew you. Go away the things you did were unauthorised.'
It’s so important that in these days, as we prepare for the Lord’s return, we’re busy doing only the things He requires of us and not wearing ourselves out doing other things, however ‘right’ they may seem. Many have found renewed strength and vitality by following God’s agenda for their lives rather than their own, or that placed upon them by others. Much stress and anxiety can be relieved by just letting God be God in our lives. It may be helpful to revisit and take to heart the words of one of Graham Kendrick’s older songs, which say; ‘Let me have my way among you. Do not strive.’ a later stanza states – ‘Let my peace reign within your hearts. Do not strive’. The response given, which should be ours, is; ‘We'll let you have your way among us. We'll not strive.’
As we reach out to God in the complexities of life and seek to walk in simple and humble obedience to his will and purpose for our lives, He promises to bless our endeavours, and we’ll experience His peace. Our lives will produce the lasting fruit that He desires.
Prayer: ‘Drop Thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease. Take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of Thy peace’. Amen.
(From 'Dear Lord and Father of Mankind' by John Greenleaf Whittier 1807-92)
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