As we did throughout Advent 2011 and Lent 2012, we are blogging our way through the Advent 2012 Lectionary Readings. We love this time of year, and sharing with you in this way. Our overarching theme during this season is “Preparing the Path” and our prayer is that as we march together toward the manger, we will prepare the way for Emmanuel.
A reading from Paul’s epistle to the Church at Philippi.
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
Life delivers countless experiences that have every potential to be a breeding ground for anxiety, stress, and worry. We’ve all given it, and don’t we sometimes even justify our anxiety or worry as being the responsible thing to do? Or just as bad, we sometimes believe it is the only action we can take.
Anxiety is not God’s way.
When situations develop that could arouse anxiety, we are to choose not to be anxious. As children of a Father, God, and King whose arm is never too short, He is to be the one we go to first. He desires to be remembered, thanked, inquired of, petitioned.
This world is full of parents who have not been there for their child, who are so deficient of love themselves that they cannot possibly give love, who are so busy and preoccupied that they do not make the time to respond to the needs and desires of their child. Perhaps you have been in such a place as a child and because of wounds and hurts from wordly parents or people in the place of parental authority, you project that image onto Father God.
Please allow me to speak the word of truth into your spirit. I ask you to let this word of God – to let Jesus Himself – into the wounds of your heart and allow Him to begin a healing process in you that He will carry on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, these may forget, yet I will not forget you! Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. — Isaiah 49:15, 16 (WEB)
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. — Psalms 27:10 (NLT)
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. — Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. — Ephesians 1:3-6 (NASB)
But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth. — Psalms 86:15 (HCSB)
This is who our Father is. So we have no need to be anxious. Our Father God loves us and cares for us and will never forget us. And once we begin to rely on our Father’s love and faithfulness, we are guarded by His peace. Imagine a loyal guard – strong and armored – who is dedicated to keep watch over the door of your mind and your heart. Keep that image in your mind as the day unfolds, and remember to [choose to] be anxious about nothing. I bless you with the peace of God.