Thursday, May 19, 2016

Philippians 4:5-6 -- On Staying Calm and Asking God

"Let your moderation be known unto all men.  The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
Philippians 4:5-6

We overreact sometimes, when things matter to us a lot.  We imagine worst-case scenarios, and our minds jump to some all-or-nothing thinking.  We cry, or yell, or scream, or curse, or get angry.  And God, here, advises against that.  It isn't that he wants us to do away with emotion and become Vulcan logic-only machines, but he wants us to be able to learn to control our emotions to the extent that we can always retain an inner peace.

"Be careful for nothing" could be translated as "Don't be unduly concerned about anything," or in other words--don't overreact.  Being calm and able to talk rationally about things helps us to be able to communicate with others.  When we let emotion take over, then we often say things that we don't mean, or that we will regret later.

Again, emotion is not a bad thing, and it isn't wrong to care.  It's good that we do.  That kind of investment in our lives makes us better students, employees, family members, and friends.  This isn't about learning to be robots.  Instead, it is about learning two other things: moderation and self-control, and faith and trust in the Lord.  We should be in control of ourselves enough that we never say things that we don't mean, and we don't harm the people around us, even through unkindness.  And we should always trust God that things will work out the way that he wants them to.  That's what Paul is referring to when he writes that we should pray and make requests to God.  If things are going wrong, we should turn to God for the solution.  We don't know what his goals are, and a roadblock now might mean that he is guiding us in another direction, or helping us learn something.  Whatever it is, we can take it, and God is still, and always, in control.  If he wants something, it will happen.  So, let's ask for and work for positive goals, but if something else happens, then let's get busy figuring out how to deal with the current reality, instead of raging against the change.

Today, let's make the world better and not worse.  Let's keep our cool and our inner peace.  Let's trust God, and adapt, finding ways to make the current reality better and more positive, rather than complaining that it *is* reality.  And let's go to God in sincere and fervent prayer about the things that upset us, and let him know our needs and desires.  He loves us, and he will help us, either to make a change, or to be at peace.  He's cool like that. :)

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